AmeriCorps & VISTA

Milwaukee Habitat AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps

What is AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps is a national service program that provides thousands of Americans of all ages and backgrounds with educational awards in exchange for a year or two of community service. AmeriCorps members help meet the nation’s critical needs in the areas of public safety, education, human needs, and the environment. It was created in 1993 with bi-partisan support by Congress, the President, and community groups nationwide. Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity utilizes AmeriCorps members from the AmeriCorps National Direct program and AmeriCorps VISTA.

What will AmeriCorps members do in Milwaukee for the 2016-2017 year?

6 Construction AmeriCorps members will perform direct service, help utilize volunteers effectively, provide support on the work site to homeowners, and engage in our neighborhood revitalization efforts.  The start date will be late August and the commitment is through mid-July.

2 Volunteer Services AmeriCorps members will recruit and engage volunteers at the ReStore (VISTA) and for other opportunities in construction and in neighborhood revitalization with a focus on youth and under-represented volunteer groups (National Direct).  For the National Direct position, the start date will be late August and the commitment is through mid-July. The VISTA member will begin in August and will serve a complete year.

2 Family Services members will assist in recruiting homeowners (National Direct) and in serving families who need additional financial counselling to become homeowners (VISTA).  For the National Direct position the start date will be late August and the commitment is through mid-July. The VISTA member will begin in July and will serve a complete year.

1 Neighborhood Revitalization member will initiate a new program around discussions of issues of poverty from a community development perspective.  This member will begin in July and will serve a complete year.

Benefits of the AmeriCorps program

  • Skills for the future
  • The AmeriCorps National Direct living allowance is $12,530 paid over 46.5 weeks (term of service.) The AmeriCorps VISTA living allowance depends on the location but is very similar and paid out over the term of 52 weeks.
  • Health insurance and workers compensation insurance (or equivalent)
  • Child care reimbursement, if eligible
  • Education award of $5,730. The education awards are paid as vouchers by the National Service Trust, and may be redeemed within seven years to pay for current education costs at qualified colleges, universities, other post-secondary institutions and approved school-to-work programs, or to pay back qualified student loans already incurred. VISTA members have the option to take a $1,500 end of service cash stipend upon completion of service instead of the education award.
  • Health benefits
  • Forbearance of qualified student loans and payment of interest that accrues during the term of service. Go to the AmeriCorps website to see if your loan would qualify.
  • Habitat Milwaukee also provides the possibility of low-cost housing and reimbursement for $150 worth of relocation/transition benefits, given at both the beginning and end of service year
  • $2,000 worth of additional benefits to those who have already successfully completed a year of service with 1,700 hours as a Habitat for Humanity National Direct construction member

What are we looking for in an AmeriCorps member?

We always have more applications than positions, so the process can be somewhat competitive. Strong candidates will possess several of the following characteristics:

  • A sincere desire to serve, combined with an understanding of why one wishes to serve
  • Past history of service participation with Habitat or other non-profits
  • Leadership experience and ability
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability and interest in working with a team
  • Patience and flexibility
  • For construction positions – construction experience or experience that required significant time spent outdoors
  • For office positions, experience with Microsoft Office programs and excellent written and verbal communication skills are required

We also look closely at applicable experiences; for example, for Family Services, working with diverse populations, community development experience, and experience working with low income families.
We recommend that you highlight these attributes in your cover letter and interview.

How do I apply?

We are now accepting applications for the 2016-2017 service year! Interviews will be in March of 2016, and members will be selected on a rolling basis.

Interviews will be in person for those living in the Milwaukee area, and by phone or Skype for those outside of the area. Final acceptance into the program is subject to a background check and official offer protocols with Habitat for Humanity International or the WI State Support Organization.

For consideration by Habitat Milwaukee there are several options:

Recommended option: Apply directly to Milwaukee Habitat by sending a cover letter and resume to Beth Van Gorp at bvangorp@milwaukeehabitat.org.  Please specify the position for which you are applying in your cover letter.

For the National Direct positions apply through Habitat for Humanity International’s AmeriCorps page. This is a good option if you want to apply at multiple Habitat affiliates.

For the VISTA positions apply through http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps. Select “Join AmeriCorps“ and then you’ll be able to find the positions by selecting “housing” and “Wisconsin.”

Please note sometimes information is delayed in both the posting and receiving of applications through the AmeriCorps website and so we recommend that you reach out to all organizations for which you are interested.  Sending your application to us directly assures that we receive your application in a timelier manner.  But it is also a good idea to complete the online application as that will need to be done before final acceptance into the program.

Please contact Beth Van Gorp at bvangorp@milwaukeehabitat.org or 414-316-5615 if you have questions.