Thank you for reading the summer 2016 edition of the Campaign’s newsletter, Justice Matters.
- BREAKING NEWS! August 2, 2016: NHLA wins Supreme Court appeal on behalf of low-income parents of children with disabilities: Federal assistance for children with severe disabilities is designed to support their special – and often expensive – needs. It shouldn’t be diverted to meet the basic needs of other family members. But that’s what New Hampshire expected low-income families with children with disabilities to do, until a successful challenge by two mothers represented by New Hampshire Legal Assistance. Click here to read more.
- National study highlights the importance of legal aid for veterans: According to a new study from the Department of Veterans Affairs, at least five out of the top 10 problems leading to homelessness among veterans cannot be solved without legal help. New Hampshire Legal Assistance is building partnerships with community health centers to reach low-income Granite Staters, including veterans, who have civil legal needs affecting their health.
The New Hampshire Bar News recently profiled the program, and spoke to Helen Curry, the partner of a disabled veteran, about how legal aid helped them avoid homelessness when their apartment building was sold to a new developer who terminated their lease after 14 years.
Click here to read more about how legal aid keeps our veterans and our communities healthy and strong.
- New federal funding for legal aid for crime victims: This year, for the first time, the federal government has allowed states to use funding through the Victims of Crime Act to support civil legal aid for victims of domestic violence and stalking as they navigate the civil legal system.
The Associated Press covered the news: “Of the more than 5,000 domestic violence and stalking victims who filed restraining order petitions in the state in 2015, just 9 percent received legal help, according to the court system.
With the new money, New Hampshire Legal Assistance will hire two attorneys focused solely on domestic violence and stalking cases, more than doubling the organization’s current capacity to help victims.
The Legal Advice and Referral Center will hire an additional intake screener, and the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Pro Bono Program will launch a statewide program to help stalking victims and work to recruit more private volunteer attorneys.
The organizations’ goal is to identify victims early and begin helping them at the start of the court process. Victims often don’t know what information to include to ensure their restraining orders are granted and they win fair child support.”
Click here to read more about how this new funding will help victims and survivors like Abby, above, provide safety and stability for their families.
- Legal aid in Action: “In January, me and my partner had a domestic violence issue, and we separated. He couldn’t come anywhere near the house, and I was left with all the bills, the house, the car. I couldn’t afford it. I went to the management but they gave me an eviction notice. They didn’t even try to work with me. I had to do everything I could so I wouldn’t be homeless in the cold. I couldn’t go to the wet shelter. It’s absolutely no good for anyone that’s in recovery. It’s a wet shelter. People can bring in drugs, they can bring in alcohol and there’s too much at stake for me. I didn’t have to do that, because the time frame LARC gave me make all the difference.” Click here to read Samantha’s Legal Aid Success Story
- Celebrating 20 years of the Fair Housing Project at NHLA: It’s been 20 years since New Hampshire Legal Assistance started the Fair Housing Project. We’d like to celebrate by introducing you to two new staff members who recently joined this work to promote equal access to housing in the Granite State. Click here to meet Victoria and Liliana and learn more about the Fair Housing Project.
- Systemic advocacy: NHLA maintains a consistent presence at the State House, lobbying on legislation within our poverty law practice areas, and has a robust practice before administrative rulemaking agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services, New Hampshire Employment Security, and the Public Utilities Commission. The 2016 legislative session ended as an especially successful year, capped by reauthorization of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (Medicaid expansion). NHLA worked closely with the large and diverse group of stakeholders – from hospitals and insurance companies to the Business and Industry Association to substance use and mental health advocates – that won reauthorization this essential program, which serves nearly 50,000 low-income Granite Staters. Click here to read a review of NHLA’s work in the legislative session