Join Our AmeriCorps Network

We're currently recruiting!

Interested in serving? View available opportunities, and apply to serve as a 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 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.

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. Applications to be a host site for 2022-2023 are due on January 28, 2022.

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 »

Apply Now

There are two ways to apply to our positions: through the AmeriCorps portal or through Housing Action’s Quick Application.

We have heard from people who find the AmeriCorps portal application confusing and complicated, so we created our Quick Application as a way to make applying and interviewing for our positions accessible and simple. When you fill out the Quick Application, you can choose to be considered for any position in our network. However, if you are offered a position, you will still need to complete an official AmeriCorps Portal application to move forward.

If you want to apply using the AmeriCorps portal, review this checklist to make sure you have gathered all the materials you need to apply. Read detailed instructions on how to apply »

2022 Application Steps & Timeline

Application Steps

  • Application Period Begins – February
  • Candidates Submit Applications for Full-Year or Summer Positions – February through May
  • First Round Interviews with Housing Action (rolling basis) – February through May
  • Second Round Interviews with Host Sites (rolling basis) – March through May
  • Offers Made – March through May
  • Selected Candidates Must Complete AmeriCorps Portal Application – March through July
    • Summer Associates must complete the AmeriCorps Portal Application by May 13

Key Dates

May 15, 2022: Housing Action begins first-round interviews

June 16, 2022: Host sites begin second-round interviews

July 31, 2022: All Member candidates with offers must have completed the AmeriCorps Portal application

August 15 & August 29:  Member start dates

 

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 Furniture Bank – Volunteer Recruitment and Engagement VISTA
Four walls and a roof alone don’t make a home. Come redesign our volunteer program so we can recruit 300 volunteers to furnish 4,000 homes next year at the Chicago Furniture Bank.

Chicago Furniture Bank – Partnerships and Communications VISTA
Four walls and a roof alone don’t make a home. We need you to establish a communications strategy, conduct research, and build partnerships to prove that while furnishing 4,000 homes next year.

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.

Connections for the Homeless – Volunteer Coordinator VISTA
Join us in preventing and ending homelessness in northern Cook County! Build the infrastructure and capacity of our volunteer program so everyone has a safe, stable place to call home.

Corporation for Supportive Housing – Supportive Housing Pipeline Coordinator VISTA
Join us in our mission to end homelessness! Assist in overseeing a Chicago community-wide housing development application and training process.

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 & Program Enhancement VISTA 
Gain valuable skills and knowledge regarding the home intake process while also working with affiliate staff to create mutually beneficial community partnerships.

Facing Forward – Marketing & Digital Media VISTA
Seeking a creative individual with a passion for ending homelessness to engage new and existing supporters through compelling online communications and captivating campaigns.

Garfield Park Community Council – Data and Evaluation Associate VISTA
This position will enhance our data and evaluation systems to help preserve and create affordable housing opportunities and prevent displacement of legacy residents on Chicago’s West Side.

Garfield Park Community Council – Communications Associate VISTA
This position will build the capacity of our organization’s housing and communication efforts to help prevent displacement of legacy residents on Chicago’s West Side.

Habitat for Humanity Lake County – Volunteer Coordinator VISTA
Help transform our organization’s volunteer experience and bring the community together to build affordable houses.

HOPE Fair Housing Center – Fair Housing Enforcement VISTA
This position will help expand our fair housing enforcement services ability to reach broader impact in our work that opens up more housing opportunities for our immediate service area and statewide.

HOPE Fair Housing Center – Fundraising VISTA
We advocate for people experiencing housing discrimination – and help them get justice. Work with us to build the capacity of our organization to enforce fair housing throughout Illinois.

Housing Action Illinois – Communications VISTA 
We’re looking for someone passionate about housing justice to build public understanding of issues, engage and cultivate our member organizations, and help diversity our funding.

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.

Housing Forward – PSH Program Associate VISTA
This position will be vital in building capacity by designing operational processes for a new fixed-site housing development & engaging local stakeholders in our mission to end homelessness.

Lake County Coalition for the Homeless – Homeless Continuum of Care Program VISTA
Use your research, writing and interviewing skills to support the effort to end homelessness in Lake County by providing critical capacity to a coalition of housing and services providers.

Northern Illinois Regional Affordable Community Housing – Eviction Prevention Services Coordinator VISTA
Eviction Prevention VISTA will work to improve data tracking systems, update documents/forms/packets as necessary, and engage residents and community partners to prevent evictions.

Northwest Center – NWC Development Team Specialist VISTA
Build capacity for our grant writing, individual giving, data and evaluation, marketing, and reporting work, to improve the economic well-being and quality of life in Belmont Cragin residents.

Northwest Side Community Development Corporation – Program and Community Organizing VISTA
Help renters, landowners, and local businesses to strengthen the local economy in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood. We seek a VISTA to optimize systems and improve services for our participants.

Respond Now – Housing Counseling Outreach VISTA 
Be part of a growing program by enhancing our outreach and communication, providing housing stability to more families in the Chicago South Suburbs.

Share our Spare – Data & Development VISTA 
This VISTA will be integral in our ability to meet the essential needs of families in Chicago by leveraging current donor database, fundraising events, donor engagement plan, stakeholder surveys.

Share our Spare – Programs & Operations VISTA
Help us in addressing 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
Be part of a growing program by enhancing our outreach and communication, providing housing stability to more families in the Chicago South Suburbs.

Territory NFP – Network Capacity Developer VISTA
Establish new networks and capacity building systems including: a post-high school program model, a representative website, and a framework for working with emerging community organizations.

Territory NFP – Communications and External Relationships VISTA
The member will develop a communications plan to share our work with a wider public, and create a new fundraising event to celebrate the work young people are doing in the Austin neighborhood.

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.

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%)

More About Our Network

Recent Accomplishments

 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.

Building the Next Generation of Change Agents

Building the Next Generation of Change Agents

From recent college graduates to retirees, social workers to construction workers, the members of Housing Action Illinois' diverse AmeriCorps VISTA Network are united under one goal: to end poverty by expanding access to affordable housing. “While the...

Gathering Data to End Homelessness

Gathering Data to End Homelessness

Each year, every Continuum of Care must conduct a Point-in-Time (PIT) count of people experiencing homelessness in their service area. Volunteers spend one night in January walking around and recording the number of people without shelter. PIT count data is reported...

A Holiday of Giving at Heartland Alliance

A Holiday of Giving at Heartland Alliance

Back to main blog page » Stephanie Tena is an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Coordinator at Heartland Alliance. The holiday season ignites a sense of reflection, graciousness, and a call to give back to others. One of the ways to channel this altruism is to...

Fall Into Our VISTA Network!

Fall Into Our VISTA Network!

The seasons are changing almost as fast as our VISTA network! We're excited to welcome 26 new VISTAs as they start a year of service increasing the capacity of our member organizations to educate the public and community stakeholders on housing issues and...