NHLA attorneys and paralegals promote equal access to housing for NHLA clients by helping them obtain and preserve safe, affordable, stable housing.
The Housing Justice Project (HJP) helps individuals and families who are either currently without shelter or are at imminent risk of becoming homeless. In addition to representing and advising individuals, the HJP engages in community outreach to tenants, housing providers and social service agencies about tenants’ rights and general fair housing law. The HJP works closely with local and state public and private organizations that assist particularly vulnerable populations to identify ways to affirmatively further fair housing practices.
The Housing Justice Project: handles cases such as
- Section 8 or public housing issues
- Property Taxes
- Mobile home park issues
- Fair Housing/housing discrimination complaints
- Housing accessibility issues for persons with mobility disabilities
To determine your eligibility for services, we encourage you to call the New Hampshire Legal Assistance local branch office or visit www.nhlegalaid.org
NHLA advocates are also members of the Foreclosure Relief Project (FRP) in collaboration with the Legal Advice and Referral Center (LARC), and the NH Bar Association (NHBA).
Helping borrowers keep their homes saves them and their lenders money and protects the housing market and economy of New Hampshire. Since its inception in 2013, NHLA's FRP advocates helped more than 1,000 people either stay in their homes or exit gracefully and with a plan for their future.
To reach someone at the Foreclosure Relief Project, call 1-877-399-9995.
The Fair Housing Project investigates complaints and assists victims of housing discrimination to help them gain the protections and remedies they deserve. In addition to individual representation, the Fair Housing Project engages in systemic advocacy by providing training throughout the state on fair housing topics and by advocating for changes in laws, ordinances, and policies that have a negative impact on protected class members (based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity).
The Fair Housing Project also operates a Testing Program to identify and root out unlawful housing discrimination. The Fair Housing Project is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
To contact the Fair Housing Project, call 1-800-921-1115
For more information, click here to visit our Fair Housing Project website
Everything you need to know about the new CDC eviction moratorium
The CDC's new temporary eviction ban protects tenants in crisis - but only if they complete a number requirements first. This step-by-step guide explains each requirement and includes a website tenants can use to complete the required declaration form for their landlord.
NHLA Fair Housing Project Director studies impediments to access for housing discrimination victims, including minorities and persons with disabilities
It’s been almost 50 years since the federal government passed the Fair Housing Act, to suppress racial segregation in housing and to promote integration and equal housing opportunities for all, particularly those who have historically been excluded.
New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority recently published its 2015 Update on barriers to Fair Housing in New Hampshire. The report was authored byour Fair Housing Project Director Chris Wellington who identified the barriers people in the state still face to fair access to housing. Anotable barrier is language access – whether for Latinos in New Hampshire’s more diverse southern tier, or Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing people throughout the state.
“New Hampshire is an opportunity state,” Wellington wrote, “with a low poverty rate, good schools, low unemployment, comparatively affordable housing, low crime rate, and high environmental health. (But even) with all its positive attributes, New Hampshire has not attracted much diversity.”
In her report, she investigates the structural barriers to diversity in the state, both historic and modern, so that we may begin to overcome them. Former NHLA Housing Justice Project Director Dan Feltes, now a state senator from District 15, also authored a section of the report. NHLA Executive Director Lynne Parker served as the report's editor.
To learn more about how the disparate impact theory works to help vulnerable classes of people, click here.
NHLA keeps renter in apartment after roommate moves out
When Emily's roommate moved out of their apartment, Emily -- who relies on disability benefits -- had nowhere to go and no way to continue paying rent by herself. Grappling with the prospect of being evicted, facing homelessness, and losing her two beloved emotional support cats began taking a toll on Emily's health as she tried to find help.
Steve Tower, an NHLA attorney, had been contacted by Manchester city welfare regarding Emily's situation. Steve explained the eviction process to her and outlined her rights as a tenant.
On the day Emily was supposed to vacate her apartment, both she and Steve raised the CDC eviction moratorium and state laws that protect tenants to her landlord to keep her in her apartment. From there, Emily worked on applying for help through the New Hampshire Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) while Steve convinced Emily's landlord to renew her lease.
"I felt like there was some type of light and I was going to make it," said Emily. "Steve went out of his way to make sure he could put me at ease no matter what time of day it was, and always helped direct me in the path of what to do next. Working with Steve made me feel confident in the decisions I was making."
ERAP approved Emily's application and is now providing rental and utility assistance. She also has more assurance that she can remain in her apartment for at least one more year and has more time to find future housing or roommates.
"Seeing as my case is now over, I feel like my life is starting to look up a bit," she said. "Steve is such an incredible human who doesn't just do his job with passion and pride, but with such love for the people he is helping. Steve Tower saved my life."
NHLA negotiations protect housing for Strafford County man with disabilities
James is an African American man in his thirties. Due to significant disabilities, James receives federal disability income. He also receives a Section 8 rent subsidy to live in an apartment building in Strafford County. James had lived peacefully in the Strafford County apartment for several years before receiving an eviction notice from his landlord. The landlord claimed that James was playing music at a loud volume late at night and disturbing the neighbors. The landlord then filed an eviction lawsuit.
When James turned to NHLA for help, he expected to become homeless and to live in his car. He was even making plans to move some of his possessions into a storage unit. NHLA however recognized that James had been listening to music late at night to calm himself, and that, with help, he could change his behavior. At court, NHLA negotiated with the landlord’s managing agent shortly before the eviction hearing was scheduled to begin. The agent readily agreed to give James another try. James used earbuds to continue listening to the music that calmed him. The landlord dismissed the eviction without any hearing. James is very relieved that he will be able to continue living in peace in the only home he knows.
NHLA work with the New Hampshire Foreclosure Relief Project featured in the Concord Monitor, January 3, 2016
The Johnsons very nearly lost their home, and with it, they say, their pride, dignity and sense of security, on top of a host of other emotions. But they didn’t, thanks to the work of a motley assemblage of lawyers and housing experts, coalesced with help from the landmark 2012 settlement between the federal government, 49 states and the country’s five largest lenders.
Unlike some states that diverted their settlement portions to non-housing expenses, or others that distributed them directly to homeowners in need, New Hampshire chose to direct its windfall in a different direction: expanding and improving low-cost aid for struggling homeowners.
The initiative, known as the Foreclosure Relief Project, was launched in early 2013 and sponsored jointly by the Department of Justice, the Banking Department and the Housing Finance Authority. In the years since, it has helped hundreds of struggling New Hampshire homeowners stave off foreclosure, and hundreds more at least fight until the end, according to project officials.
It did so largely by more than doubling the number of full-time “housing counselors” in the state, from 5 to 12, and erecting a network of attorneys trained in federal and state foreclosure law.
“What the funding has enabled us to do is to really have a battle plan, with real tools,” said Stephanie Bray, the project director and a staff attorney with New Hampshire Legal Assistance. Click here to read more.
NHLA Fair Housing Project secures conciliation agreement for Deaf resident who alleged discrimination by Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Authority.
NHLA’s client is a young Deaf man who moved into housing operated by MHRA in May 2014. During his application process, he faced discriminatory practices which continued into his tenancy. Initially, he tried advocating for himself but sought help from NHLA in March 2015. The discrimination included MHRA’s failure to provide American Sign Language interpreters or adaptive intercom systems, fire alarms and smoke detectors. Click here to read more.
NHLA receives support from the following organizations for our Housing Justice Project:
Campaign for Legal Services
City of Nashua
City of Portsmouth
IOLTA program of New Hampshire Bar Foundation
NH Bureau of Housing and Homeless Services
US Department of Housing and Urban Development