#HousingWeek – Delivering in a new Environment – Apex Financial Inclusion Project
As part of Housing Week, Apex would like to profile some of its financial inclusion activity.
Apex’s Financial Inclusion Officer, Michael Lyttle, whose background is in welfare and debt advice, has been a huge help to Apex tenants as outlined below.
All new tenants and existing tenants can avail of the free and confidential benefits advice service that Michael provides every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. Resulting from this almost £500,000 extra benefits have been claimed for Apex tenants since 2015. On one occasion, an elderly couple managed to benefit from an extra £18,000 per annum in benefits they did not know they were entitled too. In a quote they said,
“Thanks to Michael’s knowledge and expertise we are now in a more comfortable position each month”
Michael has also been able to help tenants with their housing benefit claims and in one particular instance helped a tenant reclaim £6,000 in housing benefit which cleared all outstanding arrears.
In addition to the benefits advice service, the Affordable Credit Project helps tenants access affordable credit from Derry Credit Union. This is currently being extended to other areas and enables tenants to avail of cheaper interest rates while encouraging a routine of saving.
Michael also helps tenants into employment by supporting them in referrals to employment and training agencies throughout Northern Ireland. As a result some tenants are currently enrolled on training courses for the first time since leaving school which can otherwise be a daunting process.
Michael’s financial inclusion remit also include guidance in the following areas:
• Opening a bank account
• Debt issues
• Energy switching
• Oil clubs
• Free school meals and uniform grants
• Budgeting and money advice
• Grants available from charitable organisations to help tenants
If you would like to speak to Michael about any aspects of his work please give him a call on 02871 304800 or email him to: [email protected]