AMERICORPS VISTA PROGRAM

Now Accepting AmeriCorps VISTA applications for the 2021/2022 VHA VISTA service year!

Virginia Housing Alliance’s (VHA) VISTA project is a statewide project aiming to develop viable communities by promoting integrated approaches that provide decent housing, suitable living environments, and expansive economic opportunities for low and moderate-income persons. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve full-time for 12 months at one of the VHA’s 14 host sites, working to expand affordable housing and end homelessness across the Commonwealth through capacity building efforts, advocacy, and education.

  • About VISTA
  • VISTA Positions
  • VISTA Sites
  • FAQ

About the 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 sustainable and more effective systems for VHA member organizations, while engaging VISTA Members in the causes of and solutions to homelessness and lack of affordable housing.

What our VISTAs do

VISTAs create systems that remain long after their term of service ends. VISTA projects expand the scale, impact, and resource-leveraging ability of specific anti-poverty programs. VISTA members strengthen sponsors’ efforts by expanding community partnerships, securing long term resources, and addressing specific local needs, with all activities focused on creating pathways out of poverty for low-income communities.

VISTA members must focus on building the capacity of specific anti-poverty programs and interventions and not on general capacity building for the sponsor or its sites. While VISTAs focus on capacity-building activities, they may, on occasion, perform limited direct service activities when deemed necessary to complete the VISTA’s overall capacity-building assignment. 

Basic requirements for the program include:

VHA VISTA membership benefits:

The VHA VISTA impact

Our project continues to grow to bring on more dedicated members to serve our communities with a focus on ending homelessness and expanding affordable housing in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Due to the success of the project, VHA’s member organizations have expanded its capacity to serve some of the most vulnerable Virginians. 

Since the first VHA VISTA members began serving Virginia CoCs and housing agencies, 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 the development of the coordinated assessment system

  • 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

  • And much more!

We are currently accepting VISTA member applications

Applicants are encouraged to apply for multiple positions if they are interested. Once you’ve applied, the VHA VISTA Program Manager, Hannah Moore, will be in contact to set up a pre-screening interview. For more information on any of the sites or the application process, please email hmoore@vahousingalliance.org.

Available positions:
Bay Aging Community Housing Strategist, Bay Aging

Bay Aging, a non-profit formed in 1978, serves the 10 counties of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula of Virginia through three major service divisions: Bay Housing, Bay Health, and Bay Transit. Bay Aging is designated as an Area Agency on Aging, Community Action Agency, and Lead Agency of the Northern Neck Middle Peninsula Housing Coalition. While serving neighbors from all facets of the community, Bay Aging’s services for older adults are critical as four out of the five counties with the oldest population are located in Bay Aging’s service area. The VISTA member will establish a cohesive coordination centered around housing opportunities for low-income families, older adults, and people with disabilities. In addition, the VISTA member will work to expand program opportunities, evaluate growing community needs, propose program enhancements to create efficiencies, conduct marketing and outreach, and eliminate community and agency silos.

Carpenter’s Shelter Program Data Analyst VISTA, Carpenter’s Shelter

Carpenter’s Shelter offers a comprehensive continuum of care through continuous services, aiding the chronically homeless, and sheltering residents throughout their transition back into independent living. They empower clients to address the issues which led them to homelessness and provide them with the tools necessary to achieve lasting independence. The Carpenter’s Shelter VISTA member will work to expand services, improve data collecting methods, and increase developmental capacity by designing data-driven tools to measure programmatic outcomes. The VISTA member will also be responsible for developing, implementing and documenting the systems for Carpenter’s Shelter’s new purpose-built shelter to develop sustainable organizational standards and procedures.

DHCD Eviction Prevention Specialist VISTA, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is committed to creating safe, affordable, and prosperous communities to live, work and do business in Virginia. DHCD’s VISTA member project will focus on the agency’s current and future efforts on assessing policies as well as designing and implementing the Rent Relief Program and the Virginia Eviction Reduction Pilot (VERP), which will demonstrate effective strategies to reduce the commonwealth’s rates of evictions. The VISTA member will assist the agency in building capacity to fully study evictions through data collection, data analysis, researching eviction early intervention and diversion program designs, and engaging stakeholders.

Fredericksburg Regional Continuum of Care VISTA, George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC)

The George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC) serves as the Lead Agency of the Fredericksburg Regional Continuum of Care (CoC) which serves the City of Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford. GWRC provides oversight and planning support to local efforts to prevent and end homelessness. GWRC’s VISTA will build the capacity of the CoC by developing a sustainable technical assistance system for the community’s homeless service providers to adapt and align services with evolving expectations, evaluations, and best practices. The VISTA will collaborate with the CoC’s homeless service providers to develop a formal system of monitoring and evaluation that identifies areas of need. In order to meet requirements and stay competitive for funding, the VISTA will develop new processes that better align with best practices and expectations of both the CoC and state and federal funders.

Homeless Response System Equitable Standards of Care VISTA, Virginia Beach Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation, Homeless Services Division

The Virginia Beach Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation, Homeless Services Division is committed to help house the homeless and prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless. The VISTA member will be entrusted to develop and operationalize policies and procedures that contribute to a more equitable, efficient and client-centered system of service delivery. These standards of care are critical to enhance the system’s capacity to strategically allocate resources and effectively reduce the overall number of households experiencing homelessness. Additionally, the VISTA will work to ensure that all policies, procedures, and standards of service are equitable in order to effectively identify and eliminate racial and ethnic bias.

Maggie Walker Community Land Trust Data Analyst VISTA, Maggie Walker Community Land Trust (MWCLT)

The Maggie Walker Community Land Trust (MWCLT) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to develop and maintain permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for low and moderate-income households. Using the Community Land Trust (CLT) model, the MWCLT creates single-family homes that are sold to qualified buyers while retaining ownership of the land beneath the houses. MWCLT is looking for a VISTA member to analyze and aggregate programmatic data that would support the capacity to create new programs, as well as expand and improve existing initiatives within their organization. This would include integrating the homeownership application as well as other forms with MWCLT’s front-facing website and their internal Salesforce software, improving MWCLT’s ability to streamline data. The VISTA will also research and implement best practices for Community Land Trusts and improve public participation of the Richmond Land Bank, a program that expands affordable housing by inviting applicants to develop affordable housing on Land Bank-owned properties, through targeted outreach strategies.

Rapidan Regional Training, Development, & Equity AmeriCorps VISTA, Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission (RRRC)

The Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission (RRRC) acts as the lead agency for the Foothills Housing Network (FHN), a Local Planning Group of the Balance of State Continuum of Care. The VISTA member will focus on enhanced data tracking and analysis for decision making within the Local Planning Group (LPG), implementing training for FHN member organizations and their employees, to include housing first, case management, and new processes and procedures while using a lens of racial equity, and developing a broader, standardized Access System. The VISTA will also support efforts by RRRC and FHN partner organizations to increase public knowledge regarding poverty, homelessness, and the need for affordable housing within the region through strategic outreach efforts, other organizations with similar missions, and to the general public.

Rennovation Alliance

Renovation Alliance (RA) is a non-profit organization that brings together volunteers and communities to provide free, critical home repairs for low-income homeowners with a special focus on homeowners over the age of 65, living with a disability, have children living in the home, and homeowners who are active or retired members of the armed services. The VISTA member will focus on capacity building efforts to help establish a home review system and data collection tool to quantify the impact of their critical home repair program. These efforts will also include expanding community engagement, partnerships, and funding opportunities for their organization to increase and improve services.

St. Joseph's Villa Homeless Services

St. Joseph’s Villa serves as the lead agency for the Balance of State Continuum of Care for the Crater Area Coalition on Homelessness (CACH). SJV has brought community-wide education, awareness, and inter-agency coordination in serving homeless and unstably housed households. SJV has played an important role in stimulating and facilitating regional collaboration on addressing homelessness. The VISTA member will be making community connections with rural and urban partners to develop outreach programs for those who are in need of homelessness services. This VISTA project will identify gaps in service and inform grassroots organizations the best practices of Housing First. The VISTA will also be instrumental in developing a training schedule/program and implementing performance monitoring policies for the CACH to measure the effectiveness of current services. In efforts to build stronger CACH engagement, the VISTA member will play an active role in the Built for Zero initiative and will work with the newly formed Youth Action Board.

Our VISTA host sites

Homelessness Services Cohort

VISTA members promote permanent housing solutions to end homelessness by building strategic partnerships that advance efforts to end homelessness, improving data quality and use in decision-making, and engaging in special initiatives to end homelessness. 

Locations:

Affordable Housing Cohort

VISTA members develop resources to increase development capacity and enhance organization stability by promoting the best practices in affordable housing development, improving data quality used for decision making, and enhancing community engagement.

Locations:

FAQ

VISTA Members are placed and work on-site to build capacity at VHA VISTA host agencies. Prospective VISTA host sites must be Virginia Housing Alliance members (or become members if accepted to the program). Examples of eligible agencies include community action agencies, Continuum of Care/Local Planning Group, nonprofit housing developers, planning district commissions, homeless service providers.

The VISTA is a volunteer receiving a living stipend through a federal agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The VISTA is regarded as a federal employee for limited purposes. The VISTA is affiliated with Virginia Housing Alliance, the host site, and the AmeriCorps VISTA Program. This VISTA will carry the title of VHA AmeriCorps VISTA Member and indicate that they are serving with your agency.

The VISTA program is focused on providing support for organizations by placing VISTA Members to create, expand, and strengthen systems, and build structure and collaboration that will allow the host site agency/community to partner with regional stakeholders and better expand affordable housing opportunities in their communities. The VISTA host site organization is making a commitment to improving its effectiveness and sustainability and to stand behind the VISTA’s capacity-building role.

VISTA Members will be recruited in a collaborative fashion. Host sites will recruit locally for VISTA applicants through their own networks. VHA will recruit through statewide networks. VHA works with CNCS to post the official AmeriCorps position listing for nationwide recruitment. All VISTA applicants must fill out an official online AmeriCorps application to be considered for the position.

For any questions related to the VISTA program, please contact: Hannah Moore / AmeriCorps VISTA Program Manager