Southern NH Services pulls out of courthouses

Nov. 1—After New Hampshire announced Emergency Rental Assistance payments would stop in the coming months, Southern New Hampshire Services is pulling its social workers out of courthouses in Nashua and Manchester.

Southern New Hampshire Services, a social services agency that administers a range of federally-funded programs, had been sending social workers to circuit courthouses in Manchester and Nashua since the fall of 2021. Their aim had been to catch people on the way to and from eviction hearings, helping people on the brink of homelessness to fill out forms for Emergency Rental Assistance and other housing subsidies.

But after the U.S. Treasury Department announced last month that New Hampshire would not be getting its next round of funding to pay for Emergency Rental Assistance, according to a spokeswoman for the New Hampshire Judicial Branch, the social workers have been pulled from the courthouses.

New Hampshire renters and landlords can no longer apply for Emergency Rental Assistance or renew their aid, and without the social workers in courthouses, renters won't be able to apply for any other aid or subsidies at the same place as their hearings.

Instead, applying for other aid will mean working through an online form, calling or visiting an office in person.

Judicial branch spokeswoman Susan Warner said legal assistance and landlord-tenant mediation services are still available at courthouses — though rental assistance payments had been one key way mediators found solutions for landlord-tenant disputes.