Join Our AmeriCorps Network

National Service with Housing Action Illinois

Each year, Housing Action matches AmeriCorps members with community-based organizations across Illinois. AmeriCorps is a national service program that connects people and organizations to help end poverty and strengthen communities.

AmeriCorps members take on a variety of roles at their host organizations, all aimed at helping our communities thrive. They expand the scale of programs and services, implement new projects, and build capacity to further the long-term sustainability of anti-poverty programs at their host organizations.

Since 2010, Housing Action has managed a network of AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program, with up to 30 full-year AmeriCorps members and 30+ AmeriCorps Summer Associates serving each year. AmeriCorps members serve at their host organizations for a full year or for eight to ten weeks as a Summer Associate (June through August).

We’re very proud of what our AmeriCorps members have accomplished over the years »

Ahead of the Curve

In 2021, we published the findings from our survey of 169 AmeriCorps VISTA alumni who served in our network over the course of a decade (2010–2020). The findings show that a year of service can pave the way for a nonprofit career, help make a difference in your community, and be a meaningful way to learn about housing and homelessness.

See the key findings »

%

of survey respondents secured employment within 6 months of finishing service (national average is 67%)

%

of survey respondents believe or strongly believe their experience as a VISTA was worthwhile

%

of survey respondents were offered staff positions by their host sites (national average is 20%)

We're currently recruiting!

Interested in serving? View available opportunities, and apply to serve as a full-year AmeriCorps member.

Host an AmeriCorps Member

AmeriCorps members can help your organization build the capacity to advance its mission in new ways, implement pilot projects and new programs, and grow existing services and programs.

Each year, Housing Action matches up to 30 full-year AmeriCorps members and 30+ Summer Associates with host sites across the state. We typically accept applications for host sites from December to February (we notify applicants about a month after the deadline). We begin recruiting AmeriCorps members in March. Full-year AmeriCorps members usually begin in August, while Summer Associates begin in June. This page will be updated when the next application cycle opens.

Host sites must be members of the Housing Action Illinois coalition and pay a project participation fee to begin recruiting for their position once accepted. For more information, please see our most recent Host Site Application Instruction & Resource Packet »

Interested in Serving?

AmeriCorps is a national service program that connects people and organizations to help end poverty and strengthen communities. Since 2010, Housing Action has managed a network of AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program, with up to 30 full-year AmeriCorps members and 30+ AmeriCorps Summer Associates serving each year. As an AmeriCorps member, you help nonprofit organizations build their capacity to meet community needs by improving and expanding their services and creating new programs.

AmeriCorps members serve full-time at their host organizations. Service terms last either 12 months or for 8 to 10 weeks (Summer Associates serve between June and August). Find an opportunity that fits you »

What does service look like?

As a full-year AmeriCorps member in the VISTA program, you would perform indirect service, which includes activities that help an organization enhance its mission, strategy, skills, and infrastructure to fulfill its mission. You would serve in an office setting, and your responsibilities might include:

  • Writing grants
  • Organizing a volunteer program
  • Developing a curriculum for a training
  • Other kinds of program design and implementation

You won’t be working directly with people in need. Instead, you’ll be helping to expand the capabilities of your host organization to better serve its community. You might not see the impact immediately, but your host site will continue to benefit from your efforts long after your term of service ends.

If you think direct service—providing immediate solutions to people in need and includes activities like building a house, teaching a course, or mentoring a student—is a better fit for you, you may want to consider applying for one of our Summer Associate positions.

Full-year AmeriCorps members may not perform direct service, but Summer Associates can take on direct or indirect service.

What type of compensation and benefits are available?

AmeriCorps members are full-time volunteers—VISTA stands for Volunteers In Service To America. However, AmeriCorps members do receive a modest living allowance to help cover basic expenses. With approval from their supervisors, AmeriCorps members can also work a job in their spare time, but they must be available to serve during regular business hours.

Full-Year AmeriCorps Members

For full-year AmeriCorps members in Illinois, the living allowance is $15,000 per year.

Summer Associates

Summer Associates can expect to receive a living allowance between $2,300 and $2,877 during service.

Benefits
In addition to the living allowance, you will also receive benefits as part of your AmeriCorps service:

Full-Year AmeriCorps Members

  • Choice of an Education Award ($6,345) or an End-of-Service Cash Stipend ($1,803)
  • Forbearance or deferment of student loan payments during term of service
  • Non-competitive eligibility status for federal jobs
  • Healthcare allowance
  • Leave Days: 10 personal & 10 medical
  • If Eligible: Relocation payment (up to $750)
  • If Eligible: Child Care Assistance
  • Chicago metro area only: Free unlimited Ventra or Metra pass

Summer Associates

  • Choice of an Education Award ($1,342) or an End-of-Service Cash Stipend ($345)
  • 1 or 2 sick days may be granted. However, because the term of service is so short, the hours must be made up.

Professional Development

Becoming an AmeriCorps member is a great way to serve your community while gaining experience at a community-based organization. The projects you take on as an AmeriCorps member help you develop marketable skills that can make you a competitive candidate when you apply to jobs and education programs after your term of service ends.

As a full-year AmeriCorps member, you will also participate in two In-Service Trainings (IST) as a part of your service. At the ISTs, which are specialized, multi-day, in-person training events, you will join other AmeriCorps members in your cohort to learn about topics and best practices relevant to your service. The first training, in the fall, will set you up for success during your term of service. The second, in the spring, helps you get ready to secure your next professional endeavor after you complete your term.

Ready to start building a career in affordable housing or homelessness? You can get to know others in the field through professional networking opportunities at Housing Action’s annual conference, which 250 housing practitioners from across Illinois attend each year.

Where do I sign up?

There are two ways to apply:

Use the AmeriCorps portal to apply to any of our currently open positions. Review this checklist to make sure you have gathered all the materials you need to apply.

Read detailed instructions on how to apply »

In some cases, you may be able to apply directly to the host organization. If so, you will typically send a resume and cover letter to the organization following instructions in their listing.

If you are offered a position, you will still need to complete an official AmeriCorps application through the portal to move forward.

Apply Now: Serve as an AmeriCorps Member

We are currently accepting applications for full-year AmeriCorps members and Summer Associates.

Full-Year Positions

See individual listings for start dates and application deadlines.

The AmeriCorps VISTA Program is a national service program that connects people and organizations to help end poverty and strengthen communities. Our full-year AmeriCorps members commit to serve communities across Illinois full-time for a year. They fill a wide variety of roles aimed at expanding and improving the availability of good, accessible, affordable housing in Illinois.

Chicago Rehab Network – Community-Building and Outreach VISTA
Expand CRN’s coalition of affordable housing stakeholders, grow CRN’s digital presence and engagement, and ensure the sustainability of our technical assistance program for co-ops.

Community Partners for Affordable Housing – Housing Counseling Capacity Builder VISTA 
CPAH seeks a technology-savvy individual with a passion for helping to ensure that everyone has a place to call home.

City of Kankakee’s Economic and Community Development Department – Housing Counseling Development VISTA
Be part of a city agency and learn housing counseling strategies, help us become a HUD-approved agency, and create outreach and engagement strategies to inform low-income residents of our services!

DuPage Habitat for Humanity – Outreach and Program Enhancement VISTA
The Outreach and Program Enhancement VISTA will have the opportunity to gain valuable skills and knowledge regarding the home intake process while also working with affiliate staff to create mutually beneficial community partnerships.

Habitat for Humanity Lake County – Volunteer Coordinator VISTA
Habitat for Humanity Lake County seeks a Volunteer Coordinator to help transform its volunteer experience and bring the community together to build affordable houses.

Housing Action Illinois – AmeriCorps VISTA Leader
Serve as a leader of Housing Action’s AmeriCorps Network: selecting organizations that host positions, recruiting and interviewing candidates, and coordinating current members.

Northern Illinois ReACH – Housing Retention Coordinator VISTA
Improve data tracking systems, update documents/forms/packets as necessary, and engage residents and community partners in the process to prevent evictions. 

Northwest Side Community Development Corporation – Program and Community Organizing VISTA
The Program and Community Organizing VISTA will serve with Northwest Side CDC to help residents escape poverty and secure affordable housing through equitable community organizing and community development strategies.

PADS Lake County – In-Kind Donation and Volunteer Management VISTA
PADS Lake County offers a comprehensive approach to combatting homelessness in Lake County, IL. The In-Kind Donation and Volunteer Management VISTA will develop systems to support the agency’s volunteer management and in-kind donations.

Share our Spares – Programs & Operations VISTA
This VISTA is an integral role in our ability to address the gap in the number of Chicago area families that have unmet basic needs and the number of families we’re currently able to provide support.

Spanish Coalition for Housing – Development Associate VISTA
The Development Associate VISTA will research successful strategies to engage current donors and identify grant and fundraising opportunities that are mission-aligned.

Learn about Our Network!

Want to hear from others who have hosted an AmeriCorps member? Check out testimonials from our AmeriCorps members’ supervisors »

New Initiative: Introducing the Housing Counseling Corps

New Initiative: Introducing the Housing Counseling Corps

Housing Action Illinois is excited to bring together two of our programs—supporting housing counseling agencies and managing a network of AmeriCorps VISTA Members—for a new initiative: the Housing Counseling Corps. We plan to launch this initiative in the fall of...

Alumni Spotlight: From AmeriCorps to Assistant Attorney General

Alumni Spotlight: From AmeriCorps to Assistant Attorney General

When Dan Kallio finished law school, he knew he wanted to spend a year giving back to the community before beginning his law career. Today, his impressive resume includes his current position as Assistant Attorney General at the Office of the Illinois Attorney...

Tara Joy: More People Need to Know About Fair Housing

Tara Joy: More People Need to Know About Fair Housing

“I had a few friends and acquaintances who served in AmeriCorps before and recommended the experience,” explains Tara Joy when asked how she first became interested in a year of service. “I was also interested in learning more about working in affordable/fair housing,...

Russell Star-Lack: Cooperating for Co-Ops

Russell Star-Lack: Cooperating for Co-Ops

Russell Star-Lack first became interested in housing during college, when he was researching and documenting the history of housing discrimination in the Twin Cities. He wanted to put his knowledge to good use and thought that “AmeriCorps seemed like a great way to...

Now Accepting Applications for 2021 – 2022 VISTA Positions

Now Accepting Applications for 2021 – 2022 VISTA Positions

Each year, Housing Action matches AmeriCorps members with community-based organizations across Illinois. AmeriCorps is a national service program that connects people and organizations to help end poverty and strengthen communities. AmeriCorps members take on a...