After more than a year of pandemic shutdowns, Green Valley can add one more service to the list of things coming back to life.

In September, Pima Council on Aging began resuming weekly, in-person office hours in Green Valley with Valley Assistance Services.

For years, PCOA had a physical presence at Green Valley’s Friends In Deed, but like many in-person services, those offerings were interrupted by the pandemic.

“Right as the pandemic was getting full-bore, we switched over to Valley Assistance Services, but it was because of the pandemic that Pima Council on Aging was closely following CDC and Pima County Health Department guidelines, and we wanted to be very cautious given the at-risk population we serve,” said Rae Vermeal, Rights and Benefits Coordinator for PCOA.

“We’re still taking precautions with wearing masks, and keeping some distance, just for the protection of the people we serve, but now that we have started seeing people for appointments, we’re so excited to be returning to Green Valley,” Vermeal said.

Cheryl Richard, Client Services Specialist for PCOA, will be making the trip to Green Valley for the office hours each Monday.

Richard represents PCOA’s Rights and Benefits team, which can help older folks work through a variety of forms, situations, and questions Vermeal explained.

Those include things like navigating landlord-tenant issues, dissatisfaction with consumer issues, screening and helping clients apply for public benefits for which they might be eligible, and/or helping identify if they or someone they know could be being abused, neglected or exploited.

“Essentially, we’ll work with older adults on any issue for programs that PCOA doesn’t already handle, or that our intake team can’t just simply give resources for, so if they need someone to help them problem-solve, that’s going to come to Rights and Benefits,” Vermeal explained.

In-person appointments have already started to fill as people have rediscovered PCOA here in Green Valley, something that Vermeal said is integral to the organization’s mission.

“We’re just so excited to be back because it’s important for us to be able to reach people throughout Pima County and we’ve always really appreciated the partnerships we’ve had with the different organizations in the area,” she said.

“Cheryl has been champing at the bit to get back there, and while we still are very cognizant of the pandemic, we’re so excited to get this out there and see more people again.”

Mary Glen Hatcher | 520-547-9740

Mary Glen is a North Carolina native who's excited to explore the Tucson area through her reporting with Green Valley News. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media in 2019.

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