AmeriCorps VISTA Project
VHA brought the Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS) AmeriCorps VISTA program to the Commonwealth of Virginia to focus on preventing and ending homelessness at the local and state level.
AmeriCorps VISTA Program
Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) was founded in 1965 as a national service program designed specifically to fight poverty in America. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs under the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). AmeriCorps VISTA Members make a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. They focus their efforts to build the organizational, administrative, and financial capacity of organizations that fight poverty in communities.
The VHA AmeriCorps VISTA Project provides the human capital necessary to support the transition to a sustainable and more effective homeless response system, while engaging VISTA Members in the causes of and solutions to homelessness.
VHA VISTA members serve on-site at Virginia Continuum of Care (CoC) and Local Planning Group (LPG) lead agencies. Additionally, one member serves out of VHA to work with the state-wide initiatives and one member serves in a local homeless services provider. VHA also hosts one VISTA Leader who mentors the Members and assists with project management.
VHA VISTA Members provide critical support and leadership to VHA’s local partners through:
- Promoting permanent housing focused solutions to end homelessness;
- Improving data quality and use in decision-making;
- Building strategic partnerships that advance efforts to end homelessness; and
- Engaging in special initiatives to end veteran and chronic homelessness
Current VHA VISTA host sites
Bay Aging – Urbanna, VA
- LPG – Northern Neck/Middle Peninsula Housing Partnership
New River Community Action (NRCA) – Radford, VA
- LPG – Housing Partnership for the New River Valley
Helping Overcome Poverty’s Existence (HOPE) Inc and People Inc – Wytheville, VA
- LPG – HOPE Inter-Agency Council on Homelessness and Cumberland Plateau
Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (TJACH) – Charlottesville, VA
- CoC – TJACH
George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC) – Fredericksburg, VA
Portsmouth Area Resources Coalition (PARC) – Portsmouth, VA
- CoC – Portsmouth Homeless Advisory Consortium (PHAC)
Department of Housing & Neighborhood Preservation – Virginia Beach, VA
HomeAgain – Richmond, VA
Virginia Housing Alliance (VHA) – Richmond, VA
To learn more about our project and all current and former site locations and Members, visit our VISTA Project Website!
Since the first VHA VISTA members began serving Virginia CoCs in March 2014, our members have:
- Prepared written PIT/HIC analysis and presented to CoC members
- Established a triage assessment tool/process to effectively target rapid re-housing resources
- Developed a comprehensive program guide of local homeless services and providers to assist in development of the coordinated assessment system
- Created flow charts depicting local homeless services systems
- Gathered information, assisted with CoC planning and composed narrative responses related to the state funding application
- Profiled best practice programs and partnerships to highlight Virginia communities and providers
- Launched two 100 Day Challenges to house veterans experiencing homelessness
- Established veterans liaisons in communities across Virginia and coordinated on-going communication
- Brought AmeriCorps NCCC resources to Virginia to support local efforts to identify and house veterans experiencing homelessness
- Developed and implemented electronic PIT Count surveys that reduced by weeks time needed to analyze
- Organized summer PIT Counts, and recruited and trained volunteers for PIT Counts
- And much more!
Our project continues to grow to bring on more dedicated members to serve our communities with a focus on preventing and ending homelessness in the Commonwealth of Virginia.