A monthly newsletter from 603 Legal Aid
Issue 5 | October 2021
In this issue:
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
- custody of a child,
- social security benefits, and
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 or (603) 224-3333 from 9 AM – 1 PM weekdays,
- Apply anytime online at NHlegalaid.org,
- Foreclosure issues call 877-399-9995.
Manchester District Court will have resources at the courthouse to help tenants in nonpayment of rent eviction cases on certain days for the rest of the year (see schedule below). On these dates and times, a Community Action Program representative, and attorneys from New Hampshire Legal Assistance and 603 Legal Aid will be helping tenants apply for rental assistance and, if needed, preparing the tenants to ask the landlord and the court for more time to have their applications for rental assistance processed.
The legal aid attorneys will do a brief intake with the tenant to assess their case and eligibility for this help. Attorneys may be able to help with motions to continue or give legal advice on how tenants can proceed on their own.
Tenants are always encouraged to contact 603 Legal Aid before their hearing to get advice on their rights and defenses or to possibly be referred to an attorney. Tenants are also reminded to visit www.capnh.org if they need help paying rent.
CAP representatives and legal aid attorneys will be at the Manchester District Courthouse on the following dates and times:
- October 6 Wednesday 1:00 – 4:00
- October 15 Friday 8:30 – 12:00
- October 21 Thursday 8:30 – 12:00
- October 26 Tuesday 8:30 – 12:00
- November 3 Wednesday 8:30 – 12:00
- November 9 Tuesday 8:30 – 12:00
- November 16 Tuesday 1:00 – 4:00
- November 24 Wednesday 8:30-12:00
- November 30 Tuesday 1:00 – 4:00
- December 7 Tuesday 1:00 – 4:00
- December 16 Thursday 8:30 – 12:00
- December 23 Thursday 8:30 – 12:00
- December 30 Thursday 8:30 – 12:00
VASH stands for Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing. A VASH voucher is a Section 8 voucher which HUD makes available to honorably discharged veterans who are facing homelessness.
The VASH voucher works just like a Section 8 voucher; generally speaking, the PHA will pay about 70% of the monthly rent. After the VA issues a VASH voucher to a vet, it is typically transferred to the local public housing authority (PHA) which manages the voucher going forward.
When you talk to a client or patient who is a vet and is facing loss of shelter, please consider advising them to call the VA to apply for a VASH voucher. The vet could be put on the fast track to get a voucher if the VA has funding when their application is submitted.
These vouchers are truly life changing for those fortunate enough to receive one.
This links to the VASH voucher program manager at the Manchester VA.
Q. I just received a significant money judgment in a personal injury case that resulted from a bad car accident I was in. Will I be taxed on what I was awarded?
A. Recoveries for personal physical injuries and physical sickness are tax-free.
The NH legal aid website has interactive interviews that help you write letters to your landlord or to a debt collector, and help tenants fill out court forms for eviction cases. Click on the links below to answer a set of questions to create the form or letter you need. You will also get instructions for what to do next, and a link to more information about your legal issue. Download, email, or do both to get your final letter or court form.
You can create:
- a letter to a debt collector asking them to stop contacting you,
- a letter to a debt collector or creditor telling them you are judgment proof,
- a letter to a prior landlord asking them to return your security deposit,
- an Appearance form for a tenant who is being evicted,
- an Answer and Request for Continuance for a tenant who is being evicted because they withheld rent,
- a letter to your landlord asking them to make repairs or fix conditions in your home.
603 Legal Aid is the gateway to legal services in New Hampshire. If people understand our process and the ways we can help them before they apply, it will reduce their stress and frustration during an already difficult time for them.
Anyone with a civil (non-criminal) legal issue in NH can apply to 603 Legal Aid for free legal help either by phone or through on online application. People with a question rather than an existing legal problem should ask Lawline at 800-868-1212 from 6-8 PM the second Wednesday of every month or submit the question online at nh.freelegalanswers.org.
603 Legal Aid has a 2-step process: first we determine if a person is eligible for services and then, depending on that eligibility, we do our best to get them the legal help they need or refer them to another appropriate source of legal help.
STEP 1: Eligibility
All applicants are first screened for eligibility by our intake staff, whether an applicant calls or applies online.
To qualify for legal aid, you need to
- have a low income,
- have few assets, and
- have the type of civil legal problem that we handle: housing (eviction, foreclosure, repairs), family law (custody and divorce), domestic violence, criminal annulment, and public benefits (unemployment, social security).
When you call, our intake staff will ask questions to see if you are eligible. If you apply online, an intake worker will call you to review the answers you submitted and to fill in any blanks on your application.
STEP 2: Getting help
If you qualify for free services,
- you will either be scheduled for free advice by telephone, or
- your information will be referred to a partner program to see if they can help you.
If you are scheduled for free legal advice over the phone, our lawyers and advocates will prepare you to represent yourself in court. 603 attorneys do not go to court.
Some types of cases can be sent to 603’s Pro Bono department that tries to place cases with private volunteer attorneys. Only a limited number of cases are taken by Pro Bono because all their attorneys are volunteers. There is no guarantee that cases will be taken by a volunteer. It is also possible that a volunteer will agree to take a case for only a limited part of the case – like attending mediation or handling one hearing.
Certain cases are sent to another legal aid program that handles that type of case. That program then decides if it can help and will contact you with their decision.
If you do not qualify,
- you may be able to get a lawyer for a reduced-fee or a lawyer who can help with parts of your case, or
- you may be able to get free help from other programs.
- Intake staff will give you the contact information for these other sources of legal help, either over the phone or by email to the email address on your online application.
Everyone’s information is kept confidential even if they do not qualify for our services.
Again, if applicants understand the help we offer, our eligibility requirements, and the way our program works, it will reduce their stress in an already stressful time.
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. If you fill out an application online for your client, please identify yourself. A signed Release of Information will likely be required.
- Call 1-800-639-5290 or (603) 224-3333 from 9 AM – 1 PM weekdays,
- Apply anytime online,
- Foreclosure issues call 877-399-9995.
Roberto is a Spanish speaking month-to-month tenant. Roberto, his wife, and their 5 minor children have been renting an apartment since 2014.
Roberto received an eviction notice from his landlord alleging that he spoke to the apartment manager and other tenants in an “aggressive manner.”
Because Roberto spoke no English, he was at a loss as to what to do. A friend suggested that Roberto contact 603 Legal Aid since there was a Spanish-speaking lawyer on staff.
603’s Spanish-speaking advocate listened to Roberto’s story. When the advocate reviewed the paperwork, he immediately identified numerous issues. The 603 advocate drafted a Motion to Dismiss for Robert to file with the court. The reasons to dismiss the eviction were: the reason for the eviction was too vague, the notice did not include certain language required by law, and the writ of summons was based on an eviction notice with a different date from the one Roberto got.
When he got Robert’s Motion to Dismiss, the landlord’s lawyer asked the court to continue the matter. The lawyer used the extra time to write an objection to Roberto’s motion. The objection did not require a response.
The court dismissed the eviction, giving Roberto and his family the time they need to relocate to a new apartment on their own terms.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Good Client Story” in the subject line.
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