603 Legal Aid continues to expand access to civil legal assistance with the recent hiring of Vanessa Valdès as the organization’s new Community Educator and LITC Assistant.
“603 Legal Aid is excited to have Vanessa Valdès join the team!” said Barbara Heggie, Coordinator and Staff Attorney for 603 Legal Aid’s Low-Income Taxpayer project. “Her experience with several Granite State social service agencies will be a tremendous benefit in her new role as Community Educator & LITC Assistant.”
Valdès’ chief focus will be on assisting needy New Hampshire residents with Emergency Rental Assistance Program benefits and making low-income people aware of the new tax benefits available by filing a tax return.
“We’re grateful for the funding from NH Housing Finance Authority and NH Charitable Foundation that has made it possible for Vanessa to do this important work,” Heggie said.
Valdès has been working in the nonprofit sector since she moved to New Hampshire eight years ago. Her resume includes jobs and volunteer roles at Catholic Charities, Families in Transition, YWCA, and Granite State Independent Living.
“I come from a family that loves to do service, and those genes were definitely passed on to me,” she said. “I love community organizing. I love getting out there and connecting people. There are so many wonderful organizations doing a ton of work. And oftentimes work between organizations will overlap. I love the idea of being that conduit.”
In helping more people access rental and tax assistance, Valdès already has an extensive to-do list. But she also has a plan to build a solid foundation of communication and steer people towards 603 Legal Aid for help.
“I’m going to reach out to former coworkers, to organizations I volunteered for or did work for because I know they have the target clientele that this program was built around. I have a good idea who to pair with who and how to best use our vendors to get information where it needs to be.”
Valdès is pleased with how much access to justice has been expanded in the United States over the years but acknowledges that there is still progress to be made. She recognizes that substantial social and cultural aspects keep people from accessing their basic human rights.
“If I can help in anyway by doing this work, I’m doing what they pay me for, but it’s also what I love. I love being able to build a better, bigger community for everybody.”
603 Legal Aid is a private nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services to eligible, low-income people in New Hampshire. Its attorneys and paralegals provide legal advice by telephone in areas of civil law. 603 Legal Aid offers legal representation by on-staff attorneys as well as referrals to private attorney volunteers.