Parent Resources

The Advocate

A monthly newsletter from 603 Legal Aid

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ISSUE 8 | JANUARY 2022

In this issue:

Help for homeowners in trouble

Get help with rent and utility bills

A question of law:

Good client story



Who we are:

603 Legal Aid helps NH’s low-income people by providing free legal advice and information by telephone, or a referral to another program for legal help. If you know someone who needs help with a non-criminal legal problem, have them contact 603 Legal Aid.

603 Legal Aid is the starting point to find reliable legal services in NH. Learn more about NH legal aid and the critical role 603 Legal Aid plays. Watch a short video from the NH Judicial Branch website.

Be sure to stay updated at NH Legal Aid’s website for LEGAL ISSUES DURING COVID-19 CRISIS.

603 Legal Aid can give legal advice about benefits, housing, and family problems such as

  • eviction

  • custody of a child

  • divorce

  • social security benefits

  • foreclosure

603 Legal Aid can refer people to an attorney to resolve

· immigration problems,

· debt collection issues, or

· to expunge a conviction from their record

603 Legal Aid is here to help the people you serve. We want to serve them, too, by advising them of their legal rights—especially during these uncertain times.

Encourage your clients to call us, or you or your client can apply for legal help from our website.

  • Call 1-800-639-5290 9 AM – 1 PM weekdays,

  • Apply anytime online at NHlegalaid.org,

Help for homeowners in trouble

If you know a homeowner who:

  • is facing foreclosure, have them call the Foreclosure Relief Project at 603 Legal Aid. We can provide legal advice and referrals to other services. Either call 800-639-5290 or apply online at NHlegalaid.org.

  • is having trouble paying their mortgage, utilities, home insurance or property taxes, have them contact AHEAD for free housing counseling services at (603) 444-1377 or (800) 974-1377. Or call 2-1-1. See AHEAD’s website: https://www.homesahead.org/

  • wants to know about the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF), tell them it is part of the American Rescue Plan. It will help eligible homeowners who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will likely help with:

-mortgage payment assistance and mortgage reinstatement

-homeowner’s association fees or liens, condominium association fees and manufactured home park rent

-homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, mortgage insurance

-property taxes

-utilities, including electric, gas, home energy, water, wastewater

-internet services

The HAF program launches this month.

Learn more at https://homehelpnh.org

Homeowners can sign up to get information from HAF at https://homehelpnh.org/homeowners/haf

Get help with rent and utility bills

NH Emergency Rental Assistance Program (NHERAP)

If you are a NH resident who cannot pay your rent and utility bills due to the COVID -19 pandemic, you may be eligible for help. Apply through your Community Action Partnership (CAP) at the link below.

  • Funds can cover current and past due rent, as well as utility and home energy costs for eligible households.

  • This assistance is available retroactive to April 1, 2020, through the date of application, and the applicant may also receive assistance for these same expenses going forward.

  • Households may receive assistance for a total of 12 months.

  • Payments will be provided directly to the landlord or utility provider on behalf of the household. Landlords, with the tenant’s permission, may apply for assistance on behalf of their tenant.

  • This program is only for eligible renters and landlords, not homeowners, per federal rules.

To be eligible, at least one person in the household:

  • must qualify for unemployment benefits, had their income reduced,

  • have had significant costs, or

  • had other financial hardship due to COVID-19.

  • The household must also be at risk for homelessness and

  • meet certain income requirements.

Go to the program’s website: www.NHHFA.org/emergency-rental-assistance or read the fact sheet: https://www.nhhfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/NHERAP-FAQ-web.pdf

Go directly to the CAP website at https://www.capnh.org/ to apply.

**Rockingham’s Rental Assistance Program: Rockingham County received additional federal funding to establish a rental assistance program. The eligibility requirements and the application are the same as the NH Emergency Rental Assistance Program being handled by the Community Action Programs. Learn more about it at: http://rockinghamcountynh.org/rent/

A question of law:

Q. Can my landlord ask me to repay them for the cost to treat my apartment for bed bugs?

A. Maybe. Landlords are required to pay up-front for all bed bug remediation costs.

Landlords may recover costs for remediation in the tenant’s unit only, and only if tenant is considered “responsible” for the infestation. The tenant is presumed to be “responsible” if only his/her unit has bed bugs and there have no other bed bug reports in the unit or adjacent units in previous six (6) months. Landlords can evict “responsible” tenants for nonpayment, provided the landlord shows that he/she offered tenant a “reasonable repayment agreement.”

Good client story

Mary is a 59-year-old woman who lives alone in her own mobile home within a manufactured housing park on the seacoast. Early this year, the park owner ordered Mary to either tidy up her lot or face eviction. Mary suffers with both physical and emotional problems, but she did her best to comply with the park owner’s demands. However, Mary didn’t move quickly enough to satisfy the owner, and she was served with an eviction notice last summer.

Even after the eviction notice expired this fall, Mary continued to clean up, rake leaves, and throw away trash. Despite her significant progress, the park owner’s attorney brought the eviction into court. Just hours before her hearing in early December, Mary called 603 Legal Aid and asked for help.

603 Legal Aid reviewed her eviction notice and advised Mary that she had a defense. The reason for her eviction was so vague that it was arguably defective. 603 Legal Aid quickly wrote a motion to dismiss that raised this defense, and emailed the motion to Mary. They urged her to file the motion without delay and to hand a copy to the park owner’s attorney. 603 Legal Aid encouraged Mary to tell the judge about all her hard work and progress made in cleaning up her lot.

The day after her hearing, Mary called 603 Legal Aid with this update: “I didn’t have to talk to the judge,” Mary said. “The attorney said he was impressed with the motion to dismiss. He brought me into a conference room and we reached an agreement. I won’t be evicted if I finish cleaning up my lot by May of 2022!”

“I felt reborn after getting that agreement,” Mary continued. “I wish you the best Christmas ever and hope you can help others the way you helped me.”

If you know someone who had a good outcome in a legal case due to 603 Legal Aid’s help, please share that Good Client Story with us! We would love to share it with our readers. 603 Legal Aid will never use a client’s real name or any facts that could reveal who that client is. Send your Good Client Stories to: webmaster@603legalaid.org and put “Good Client Story” in the subject line.

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Equal justice for all should not depend on whether you can afford it. Make a difference for New Hampshire’s most vulnerable citizens -- donate to the New Hampshire Campaign for Legal Services. Your donation will provide vital support to 603 Legal Aid and New Hampshire Legal Assistance. Help us ensure that New Hampshire's poor and elderly have a place to turn when they need legal help.

Donate

Supported in part by: NH Campaign for Legal Services and NH Bar Foundation


Here are some resources if you need any legal help:

LARC/Parent Resources

CDC eviction moratorium extended to March 31st

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) extended its moratorium on nonpayment of rent evictions to March 31, 2021. The moratorium also arguably applies to evictions based on no fault or wrongdoing of the tenant (like removal to sell the property or to do renovations).

The purpose of the CDC Moratorium is to allow tenants to remain quarantined to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

A tenant enjoys protection under the CDC Moratorium only when certain requirements are first met, and if a CDC declaration is then delivered to the landlord. The declaration notifies the landlord of both the tenant's financial hardship and the tenant's best efforts to obtain rental assistance. Here's a tenant's step-by-step guide for securing protection against eviction under the CDC Moratorium:

1. Must not earn more than $99,000 in annual income for calendar year 2020, or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return.

2. If behind in rent, must apply for rental assistance at Town/City Welfare Office & Community Action Program (CAP).

3. All adult household members must sign & date the declaration. * Tenants should note that the CDC declaration is signed under penalty of perjury.

4. Deliver the declaration to the landlord (hand delivery, 1st class mail, certified mail, attached as a picture to a text message or email)

5. Continue to pay the landlord whatever portion of the rent the tenant's circumstances permit.

See the CDC Declaration form. Until the CDC updates the form, cross out "January 31, 2021" and write "March 31, 2021."

Tenants are urged to contact LARC at 800-639-5290 or 603-224-3333 if they have any questions about the CDC Moratorium.

Website: www.larcnh.org


Free help sessions for tenants facing eviction

Weekly - Online

Beginning January 20, 2021, New Hampshire Legal Assistance (NHLA) and the Legal Advice and Referral Center (LARC) will hold free online weekly help sessions for tenants facing eviction.

During these Eviction Clinics, legal aid attorneys and paralegals will explain tenants’ rights during an eviction and answer questions. They cannot provide legal advice for specific cases at the clinics.

The sessions will be recorded and available on NHLA’s YouTube channel.

NO SIGN UP NECESSARY

When: every Wednesday, from 7-8:30 PM

every other Wednesday, from 2-3:30 PM

Where: via Zoom. Get the link at nhla.org and NHLA’s Facebook page under ‘events.’

More information: call 603-224-3333 or 1-800-639-5290.


Tenants’ rights during the pandemic

LARC and its partner in NH legal aid, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, have been reaching out to the media to educate renters about their tenant rights during the pandemic. Click onto these links to read recent articles:

  • From the from the Valley News:

https://www.vnews.com/A-Landlord-and-Tenant-Dispute-Rages-on-During-Pandemic-38565848


A Question of Law: Eviction

Question: I lost my eviction hearing based on nonpayment of rent. The judge granted my motion requesting the eviction be halted until the CDC moratorium ended on January 31st. Now that the moratorium has been extended to March 31st, do I need to file a new motion asking the court to continue the halt on eviction until March 31st?

Answer: If a court ruled that the nonpayment eviction was halted only until a specific date, like January 31st, it would be wise to file a new motion asking that the eviction be halted until March 31st, or until such time as the CDC moratorium on nonpayment evictions may be extended beyond March 31, 2021.


Free tax preparation

There are no walk-in free tax services available in New Hampshire this year. If you would like someone from NH Tax Help to contact you, please submit a request for help, and a volunteer will contact you. Because they anticipate a high volume, it may take up to 14 days for a volunteer to reach you.

Apply here: https://nhtaxhelp.org/

Learn more from the IRS about free tax preparation here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-qualifying-taxpayers


Good client story

“Jim” was a 50-year-old man who lived in central NH with his wife and two minor children. Jim lost an eviction for nonpayment of rent at his local district court in September of 2020. Jim disagreed with the decision and appealed the eviction. He continued to pay rent into court, as the appeal process required, while he worked on his appeal to the NH Supreme Court. In January of 2021, the Supreme Court rejected his case. Short on cash, Jim and his family suddenly found themselves just days from a sheriff’s lockout. That is when Jim called the Legal Advice & Referral Center (LARC) for help.

LARC advised Jim that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) ordered a stop on nonpayment evictions to slow the spread of the pandemic. LARC explained that to receive protection under the CDC order, he first needed to apply immediately for rental assistance at his town welfare office. Next, Jim and his wife were advised to sign and date a CDC declaration and deliver it to their landlord. And finally, LARC drafted a motion which informed the district court of Jim’s protection under the CDC order and asked that he not be evicted until the order expired on March 31, 2020. The judge immediately granted the motion.

Jim reported to LARC in late January that he and his family would be moving into a great new apartment within a couple weeks. He expressed what LARC’s services meant to him and his family: "It's great that tenants have a place like this to call, where they can speak to professionals who know what they're talking about and who want to help people like us."

If you know someone who had a good outcome in a legal case due to LARC’s help, please share that Good Client Story with us! We would love to share it with our readers. LARC will never use a client’s real name or any facts that could reveal who that client is. Send your Good Client Stories to: webmaster@larcnh.org and put “Good Client Story” in the subject line.


Food Bank Plans Drive-thru Pantries

Click here for more info.

State Brochure 32819.pdf



ProHealth Internal_v5.pdf



Research portion of ProHealth.pdf



STATEWIDE SUMMER CAMP INFORMATION

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STRUGGLE WITH ADDICTION OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO DOES?

FIND HELP HERE

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HOLIDAY ASSISTANCE

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FREE TAX HELP!

Check out the info HERE!

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NH Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative: www.NH4Youth.org


HOMELESS EDUCATION ADVOCACY MANUAL, DISASTER EDITION


http://www.communitycompassgmr.org/


FREE DENTAL THROUGH THE MANCHESTER BOYS & GIRLS CLUB