Lifeline advice service for over-60s extended
Published by Glasgow Housing Association on Sat 09 Jun 12 @ 22:15
A lifeline advice service that helps prevent older GHA tenants falling into poverty has been so successful it is being extended across the city.
The Older People's Advice Service (OPAS) has been helping older GHA tenants and factored homeowners in the East End claim the benefits, tax credits and allowances they are due since last summer.
More than 367 people have taken advantage of the free and confidential service - and have claimed back more than £275,000 in benefits in its first six months.
OPAS, set up in 2005 by Link Group Ltd, was launched as a year-long pilot for GHA tenants in the east end in partnership with Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government and the Link Group last summer.
That pilot has proved so successful it is being extended for another year - and older GHA tenants across Glasgow will be able to take advantage of the lifeline advice service.
GHA tenants and homeowners in the north of the city will be targeted by OPAS advisors beginning next month.
Alex McGuire, GHA's Executive Director of Development and Regeneration, said: "This vital service has made a real difference by helping our older tenants access the benefits and credits they are entitled to.
"Working with our partners at Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to extend OPAS means we can help improve the lives of even more people across the city."
Dedicated advisors from OPAS also help pensioners get information and advice on other services, such as GHA's handyperson service, which helps the over-60s with odd jobs around the home.
They also put them in touch with other agencies for advice on tax, fuel tariffs, disability issues and occupational therapist referrals.
The Older People's Advice Service launched in 2005 and initially targeted Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, West Lothian and North Lanarkshire.
Maureen Middleton, Link's Director of Housing, said: "Link is delighted this service has made such a positive difference to so many lives over the past year.
"We are delighted to work in partnership with GHA, Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government, whose funding generates a significant return on their investment."
OPAS advisers will contact eligible tenants and factored homeowners soon to invite them to take up the service.