Host Site FAQs: Illinois Affordable Housing Support Project

What are the selection criteria for IAHSP host sites?
My organization currently hosts an IAHSP VISTA member; do we need to complete the 2017-2018 VISTA Project Host Site Application?
What VISTA/CNCS program focus areas does the IAHSP prioritize?
What is the timeline for the application process?
How many VISTA members can I apply for?
How does my organization benefit from participating as a VISTA Project Host Site?
Will I get guidance throughout the year about the VISTA program?
What costs does the Project Host Site need to cover?
How can I best utilize my VISTA?
Can our VISTA get a part-time job?
What activities are inappropriate for a VISTA to do?

If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our VISTA Leaders, Tanya and Sarah, at (312­) 939-6074 ext. 107 or vista@housingactionil.org. Wondering what other host sites’ experiences have been like? Check out our host site testimonials.

What are the selection criteria for IAHSP host sites?

  • Quality of the VISTA project, including the following:
    • The project adheres to AmeriCorps VISTA program guidelines.
    • The sustainability and impact of the project.
    • The project will attract a strong pool of VISTA candidates.
  • Capacity of the organization to be a host site.
  • Geographic Diversity: We desire to have a minimum of four host sites outside of the Chicago Metropolitan/Six-Collar County Region.
  • All current Housing Action Illinois member organizations are invited to apply. However, preference will be given to organizations that have been members of Housing Action Illinois for more than one year.
  • Preference will be given to current IAHSP host sites in good standing defined as follows: current in membership dues to Housing Action Illinois, current in monthly VISTA project reports, and fulfilling the terms and responsibilities outlined in the IAHSP MOU.

Learn more about becoming a member of Housing Action Illinois »

My organization currently hosts an IAHSP VISTA member; do we need to complete the 2017-2018 VISTA Project Host Site Application?
Yes. All organizations, whether applying for the first time or renewing, must complete the 2016‐ 2017 Project Host Site Application. Current sites who have had a VISTA for less than three years have preference if they are in good standing. New applications are necessary to ensure that VISTA placements focus on updated VISTA/CNCS programming priorities and focus areas.

What VISTA/CNCS program focus areas does the IAHSP prioritize?

  • Economic Opportunities (Asset Development, Financial Literacy, Community Economic Development, Housing, & Employment)
  • Veterans & Military Families
  • Healthy Futures (Access to Healthcare, Healthcare Services)

More information about these priorities and focus areas can be found here.

What is the timeline for the application process?
January 13, 2017 – Deadline for Host-Site Applications
February 03, 2017 – Award Announcements
February 17, 2017 – Executed Agreements due (MOUs, Payment, VAD, Performance Measures Survey)
March – May 2017 – Recruitment of VISTA members
Summer 2017 – VISTAs arrive on site (exact dates TBA)

How many VISTA members can I apply for?
You may apply for as many VISTA members as your organization has the capacity to support and supervise. However, placement of each VISTA position will be individually determined, so you may be awarded all, none, or some of the VISTA members you apply for.

How does my organization benefit from participating as a VISTA Project Host Site?
Your organization receives the opportunity to recruit a full‐time AmeriCorps VISTA member(s) to build capacity in your organization and help communities ameliorate issues related to poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA members receive a living allowance from the federal government of approximately $10,000/year, and a post service education award of $5,700, or a cash stipend of $1,500 upon completion of a year of service.

Will I get guidance throughout the year about the VISTA program?
Yes! The Housing Action Illinois and CNCS provide the following:

  • Pre‐Service Orientation (PSO) for VISTA members (costs are covered by CNCS)
  • In‐Service Training (IST) for the VISTA member(s) during their term of service
  • Oversight and coordination of the IAHSP through the IAHSP VISTA Director and VISTA Leaders
  • Site visits
  • Assistance with recruitment and selection of VISTA members
  • Facilitate professional development opportunities

What costs does the Project Host Site need to cover?

  • Travel reimbursement to VISTA for any project‐related travel
  • Reimbursement of Chicago Transit Authority/Metra pass if Project Host Site is located in Chicago Metro region.
  • Funds for professional development/trainings throughout the year
  • In‐kind office requirements: office space, desk, computer, phone line, email, etc.
  • There are other in‐kind donations such as housing or housing assistance, opportunities 
for professional development, recreation pass for on‐campus fitness facilities, etc. These items are not required, but are encouraged as they drastically increase the number and quality of VISTA applicants.
  • Project Participation Fee to Housing Action Illinois; estimated to be $4,000* per VISTA member position during the 2017‐2018 fiscal year. The Project Participation Fee covers match requirements to CNCS and helps offset administrative expenses for the project.

How can I best utilize my VISTA?
A VISTA member should be used to enable your organization to address a need(s) within the community that would otherwise not be accomplished due to lack of time, resources, energy, or structural conduciveness. Once the need has been identified the host site can structure the VISTA’s Assignment Description to best build the capacity of a program or initiative that will continue to address the need after the VISTA project has ended.

Can our VISTA get a part-time job?
All outside employment must be approved by CNCS and must not conflict with VISTA assignment.

What activities are inappropriate for a VISTA to do?
An AmeriCorps VISTA member cannot:

  • Supervise employees of the Host Site organization
  • Provide direct service or case management to individual clients or community members
  • Be involved with political advocacy, religious instruction, voter registration, union 
organizing, or lobbying while serving or identifying themselves as a VISTA member
  • Receive monetary contribution from host organization to supplement their stipend
  • Enroll in credit‐bearing courses during their term without approval from CNCS
  • Displace the work, or what should be the work, of paid employees of the host 
organizations, particularly tasks typically reserved for administrative and/or clerical positions. AmeriCorps*VISTA members are to engage in project‐based work. Note: The VISTA member is not an administrative assistant.

 

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