Join Our AmeriCorps Network
We're currently recruiting!
Interested in serving? View available opportunities in our network, and apply to serve as a summer or full-year AmeriCorps member.
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).
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 begin recruiting AmeriCorps members in March. Full-year AmeriCorps members usually begin in August, while Summer Associates begin in June.
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 the Host Site Application Instruction & Resource Packet.
Applications to host 2023-2024 AmeriCorps members are closed. Interested host sites can view the online application in preparation for the next cycle. Host site applications will reopen in winter 2023 for 2024-2025 AmeriCorps positions.
Want to hear from others who have hosted an AmeriCorps member? Check out testimonials from our AmeriCorps members’ supervisors »
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 »
There are two ways to apply to our positions: through Housing Action’s Quick Application or through the AmeriCorps portal.
We received feedback that the AmeriCorps portal can be confusing and complicated to use, so we created our Quick Application as a way to make applying and interviewing for our positions simpler and more accessible. When you fill out the Quick Application, you can choose to apply for a specific position or be considered for multiple positions in our network.
If you are offered a position, you will still need to complete an official application on the AmeriCorps portal prior to starting service. For assistance using the AmeriCorps portal, read detailed instructions on how to apply »
Application Steps & Timeline
We begin accepting applications on a rolling basis for our summer and full-year AmeriCorps positions in February. Summer AmeriCorps members serve from June to August, while full-year AmeriCorps members serve for 12 months and typically start in August.
- February – Applications Open
- April – Application Review Period Begins
- April-July – Interviews with Host Sites
- May 19 – Application Deadline for Summer Associate Positions
- June – Service Begins: Summer Associate Positions
- July 7 – Application Deadline for Full-Year Positions
- August – Service Begins: Full-Year Positions
2023–2024 Open Positions
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
Full-year AmeriCorps members receive a living allowance of $22,882 per year.
Summer Associates receive a living allowance between $3,510 and $4,388, depending on the service term (8-10 weeks).
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 ($6,895) 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
- Choice of an Education Award ($1,459) 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.
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.
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.
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%)
More About Our Network
Housing Counseling Corps
Housing counseling programs are crucial in combating the affordable housing crisis, but due to a nationwide shortage of HUD-certified housing counselors, agencies are struggling to meet community needs. In 2021, we piloted a new initiative of our AmeriCorps network—Housing Counseling Corps—to build the capacity of housing counseling programs and establish a pipeline of HUD-certified housing counselors to help more people secure safe and affordable homes. After launching the initiative in Illinois, we expanded the Housing Counseling Corps to match AmeriCorps members with organizations nationwide in 2023.
AmeriCorps members in the Housing Counseling Corps spend a full service year learning about the housing counseling profession, becoming familiar with the specific programs and client needs of a housing counseling agency, and preparing for and taking the HUD Housing Counseling Certification Exam. After their service, members are well-positioned to begin a job as a HUD-certified housing counselor at their host site or another housing counseling agency.
Housing Action facilitates housing counseling trainings nationwide and provides critical support and resources to housing counseling agencies throughout the Midwest as a HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Intermediary. Housing Counseling Corps leverages the expertise and resources of our Capacity Building team and our AmeriCorps Network to fortify the housing counseling workforce in Illinois and throughout the United States. Learn more about becoming a Housing Counselor and applying for the Housing Counseling Corps.
Interested in hosting a Housing Counseling Corps member at your agency? Read more about hosting an AmeriCorps member and reach out to email@example.com.
When we started placing AmeriCorps members for the 2020-2021 year, we really didn’t know what would be possible in the coming months. We’re very proud that our network of 24 AmeriCorps VISTA members were able to achieve so much, even during pandemic. In just one year, our network collectively:
- Raised $728,000 in grants, cash, and in-kind donations for their host sites
- Connected 4,000 households with housing services
- Helped develop, make available, or repair 1,000 housing units
- Recruited or managed 500 volunteers
These numbers only tell part of the story—there are many other ways in which our AmeriCorps members build capacity for their host organizations. See below for spotlights on individual members.
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...
Being Part of the Solution: Serving as an AmeriCorps Member with Northwest Side Community Development Corporation
When COVID-19 first arrived in the United States, Fabian Cisneros was a part of the Student Conservation Association, serving in the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Although he was able to continue his work, the sudden changes to the nation’s day-to-day...
AmeriCorps Spotlight: Tracking Inequalities for Housing Advocacy
After earning her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from University of Illinois, Krista Weller wanted to continue the work she had started as an intern for Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living (INCIL). INCIL is a statewide non-profit that uses a...
From Galas to Games: Centro Romero Summer VISTAs Adapt During Pandemic
With a degree in theater from the University of Chicago and a love of technology, Fundraising VISTA Summer Associate Elisabeth Del Toro has helped to turn Centro Romero’s upcoming annual gala into a video extravaganza. Feeling inspired by what other actors are doing...
VISTA Spotlight: Joy at the Chicago Jobs Council
After graduating with a Masters in Sociology from Roosevelt University and while awaiting her matriculation into Loyola University’s School of Social Work, Joy Powell hopped onto her computer in May searching for summer opportunities. “I have the summer,...
Farming in the City: A Day of Service in Honor of 9/11
Believe it or not, fall is only a few short days away, and even if we aren’t preparing ourselves for it, nature certainly is. When you have plants growing in the middle of the city, sometimes they can use a little extra help, and that’s where Housing...