CDC Eviction Moratorium: How To Get Housing Assistance In New Hampshire
A federal moratorium on evictions has been lifted in some parts of New Hampshire, but it remains in place for Belknap, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, Hillsborough, Rockingham and Strafford Counties. The regions of the state covered by the moratorium could shift, depending on the severity of COVID-19 in different areas.
The state will publish ongoing updates about where the moratorium applies on the New Hampshire Judicial Branch website.
No matter where you live, if you're behind on rent or utility payments, you can still apply for help.
Advocates, municipal welfare directors and a director of one Community Action Program talked with NHPR earlier this year about the state’s rental assistance program and how tenants can still access assistance if they’re behind on rent, utilities or internet payments. We will continue to update this list if more counties are added to the moratorium.
If I want to apply for housing assistance, what do I need to know?
You have to meet certain income eligibility requirements and demonstrate a direct or indirect financial impact because of the pandemic. Documentation is required, which can include paystubs, W-2s, unemployment benefits, or tax filings among others.
“If you are behind on your rent, you really need to get a hold of a community action agency and also talk with your landlord and work in partnership,” says Betsey Andrews Parker, CEO of Community Action Partnership of Strafford County.
The assistance program covers back rent and future rent, as well as utilities.
What if I’ve applied for rental assistance, am waiting to hear back and have concerns about an eviction?
If you do have a pending application and a pending eviction, Berry says to notify the court system and file to postpone the case (known as a motion to continue). Those forms are available through 603 Legal Aid, which you can find here.
Anyone who’s facing eviction while waiting for rental relief should make sure to alert their assigned caseworker at their local Community Action Partnership. If possible, Berry says, make sure to let them know the date of any upcoming eviction hearing.
Balian, from Dover’s welfare office, says if applicants are in a position where they can’t wait, resources are still available in his office.
“We’re not going to let anybody get shut off or, you know, start the eviction process just because they can’t get a response quickly enough due to systemic issues. These things take time,” he says.
Rochester Welfare Director Todd Marsh, who leads the state’s welfare administrators association, also encouraged people to contact their local welfare departments if they need help paying their bills — even if they’re still waiting for other rental assistance.
“I hope people, if needed, take advantage of the extension to reach out to agencies, including [CAP] and local welfare departments sooner than later,” he said. “Requesting and navigating assistance is more effective and successful when owed amounts are lower than higher.”
Who do I need to notify that I’ve applied for housing assistance?
Advocates and CAP agencies say you should contact your landlord as soon as you have applied for assistance. If you have a pending eviction, Elliott Berry with New Hampshire Legal Assistance also recommends contacting the court to request a postponement of your eviction hearing until you get a decision on your application.
How can I track my housing application?
Stay on top of your email and make sure your voicemail is set up and able to accept messages, Parker says, because case workers may reach out for more details on your application. Check your email’s spam folder too, just in case.
Application processing tends to take up to a month, both Ellen Tully, Portsmouth’s welfare administrator and Dave Balian, Dover’s welfare director, say.
What if my landlord isn’t cooperating?
If you’re having trouble getting your landlord to cooperate with your application for New Hampshire’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, Berry said you should be able to receive money from the program directly, which can then be used to pay your bills.
“For people who are not getting cooperation from their landlord, they can and should be asking the CAP to have money paid to them directly,” he said.
Berry said landlords should also be aware that the rental assistance program is a big benefit to them, since it can ensure they receive money they’re owed from their tenants.