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AmeriCorps VISTA

Family Services Development

To apply for this position, visit Habitat for Humanity International’s career page.

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Goals

Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia’s Family Services Development VISTA member will assist with improving the systems and processes of the family services program so that the affiliate can serve more families in our service area. Habitat has been growing dramatically over the past few years, and has ambitious plans to double the number of families reached over the next couple of years. This means that the workload of the family services department has been increasing substantially. To reach our goals, the program needs to have better systems in place to manage and track the now multiple types of family cohorts. This position’s primary task will be to consolidate the existing systems and to develop improved methods. The member will then test the implementation of these systems, and help determine and manage how program data is organized and recorded for future use.  A more efficient system will provide staff with the much needed time to engage families directly. This person will work closely with the family services department, most of the repair department, the repair committee of the board of directors, other office staff as needed, and potentially community partners.

GoalOutput
Goal7OutputSystems, processes and/or tools created or enhanced by VISTA member that will increase capacity at the local Habitat organization.
Goal30OutputIndividuals who collaborate with VISTA member on projects related to this position (stakeholders, volunteers, community members, staff, etc.)

Objective one – Exploration

Explore the family services program and resources that are currently in place at the host site and identify best practices from other programs. Identify what additional needs the project requires. Document research and communicate findings to the project sponsor and gain further direction to move forward with developing an enhanced family services program.

Member activities

  • Research homeowner family recruitment, qualification, application, support and training resources available from Habitat for Humanity International and other local Habitat organizations. Compare findings to current methods used by affiliate.
  • Research homeowner family and home repair recruitment options, including targeting local faith organizations, employers, school groups, civic groups and other community organizations.
  • Research systems to track homeowner family housing and home repair applications, sweat equity hours and scheduling (i.e. online databases).
  • Research application and acceptance processes used by other Habitat organizations and identify the benefits and drawbacks of different systems.
  • Research homeowner family education options such as finance classes, home repair workshops, mortgage document review or community engagement. Complete needs assessment and analysis of existing community services to develop, document and implement a new homeowner family education program. Member may also include researching homeowner manuals created by other local Habitat organizations, assessing if a manual is needed for their host site.
  • Research and create a list of referrals for families who do not meeting Habitat’s housing and repair program requirements.
  • Assess the status of the family services committee and make a recommendation as to recruitment and orientation of new members. Research volunteer recruitment resources from Habitat for Humanity International and other local Habitat organizations.

Objective two – Development

Based on the information gathered, develop and document an enhanced family services program that addresses the needs of the host site. The plan should address homeowner family recruitment, tracking, scheduling and support.

Member activities

  • Develop a homeowner family recruitment plan, including targeting local faith organizations, employers, school groups, civic groups and other community organizations. Create a homeowner family recruitment community directory. Inform the plan with homeowner family recruitment, orientation and educational resources available from Habitat for Humanity International and other local Habitat organizations.
  • Develop a system, such as an online database, to track homeowner family housing applications, status, sweat equity hours and scheduling.
  • Develop a homeowner family education plan and curriculum that includes items such as finances, home repair and review of legal documents homeowner will sign at closing.
  • Develop materials to recruit new members for the Family Services and Repair Committees, including a volunteer job description.

Objective three – Implementation and review

Implement the enhanced family services program. Assist the host site in testing and evaluating the various parts of the program developed, making revisions as needed to ensure success.

Member activities

  • Implement the homeowner family and home repair recruitment plan, including resources gathered, such as the recruitment community directory.
  • In coordination with affiliate staff, reach out to and build relationships with local non-profit organizations, employers, community centers and faith communities in North and West Philadelphia, where Habitat’s efforts are focused, in order to recruit a diverse base of qualified applicants. Document all contacts in database.
  • Implement the homeowner family tracking system and gather feedback from staff, homeowner families and family services committee members about usability, making changes as needed.
  • Implement the homeowner family educational curriculum.
  • Develop and conduct homeowner satisfaction surveys, including experience with the application process, sweat equity activities, educational workshops and final settlement.
  • Set up an informal homeowner association in partnership with neighborhood families.
  • In collaboration with the Family Services and Repair Committees, recruit and orient new volunteers for the committees.

Activities listed here may include visits to the construction site for the purposes of observation, interviews of staff and volunteers and implementation of family services development items. While VISTA members cannot regularly build on the construction site, the VISTA member may have the opportunity to engage in active building no more than one time per month to help inform family services program development and connect with homeowner families.  

Objective four – Sustainability

Ensure that the family services program is sustainable, continuing at the host site after the completion of the VISTA term by developing manuals and training staff and volunteers on the new program.

Member activities

  • Develop a manual of resources and directions for maintaining the family services program, including homeowner family recruitment, tracking, scheduling and education.
  • Recruit and train volunteers and staff on use of new systems and procedures to ensure there is a transition plan for ongoing maintenance of systems and support of the program.

Required meetings, trainings and events

Minimum expectations are outlined below with the understanding that further trainings may be required, as determined by the host site, Habitat for Humanity International or the Corporation for National and Community Service.

  • Pre-service orientation provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
  • Onsite orientation to local host.
  • Habitat Learns – “Foundation of Habitat” online series.
  • Lockton safety online courses.
  • Annual sponsored blitz build – Habitat AmeriCorps Build-a-Thon.
  • National days of service:
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (required).
    • September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance and AmeriCorps Week (encouraged).
  • Host site monitoring reviews and periodic check-in calls.
  • Monthly meeting with host site manager.
  • Bi-weekly meeting with direct supervisor.
  • Life After AmeriCorps training.
  • Staff and board meetings and home dedications, as appropriate.
  • Annual staff or AmeriCorps team build day.
  • Monthly family services committee meetings.
  • Individual and/or group professional development trainings may be made available based on budget, member interest and recommendation of the host site manager or direct supervisor.
  • Host site events as appropriate, including but not limited to Building Hope Luncheon (May), Ride for Homes (June), Young Professionals’ Habi-Hour (November), Next Gen Builds (October), and Builder’s Challenge (July/August). Participation in these events will be in line with AmeriCorps program regulations.

Experience, knowledge and skills

Required

  • Experience with Microsoft Office Suite, especially Word and Excel.
  • Experience with Salesforce or similar customer relationship management database.

Preferred

  • Valid driver’s license and ability to meet host site’s insurance requirements (must be at least 21 years of age with no serious driving-related convictions or at-fault accidents).
  • Knowledge of, and willingness to promote, the mission and activities of Habitat for Humanity International and AmeriCorps.
  • Ability to work with a diverse group of people.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong research skills.
  • Detail oriented and highly organized.
  • Experience working as a member of a larger team.
  • A second language is highly desirable, with preferred language being Amharic or Arabic.
  • Project management experience.
  • Marketing experience.

Physical requirements

  • Ability to sit at a desk and computer for extended periods of time.
  • About 20 percent of this position requires outreach in the community, including visiting buildings and homes that may have stairs, as well as occasionally serving on project sites that may have uneven terrain.

Service site environment

Member will primarily serve in an open-space office and will share space with other staff and/or AmeriCorps members. Each member will have a desk, computer (with email and internet access), and a phone for service-related tasks. Shared resources include a printer, copy machine, fax machine as well as office supplies.

Will a personal vehicle be required? ☐ Yes  ☒ No

A personal vehicle is not required but is preferable. Travel is required for this position. Public transportation is available and paid for by affiliate, as is bike share, and Philadelphia is easily accessible by bike. Much of the travel will be within the North Philadelphia and West Philadelphia communities. When personal vehicle is used, approved service-related mileage (beyond commuting to and from service from home) will be reimbursed per the affiliate’s policy. There is limited ability for using Habitat vehicles, which would require being at least 21 years of age for insurance reasons.

Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia is located in the heart of where our country was founded. The region is rich in cultural and ethnic diversity. Philadelphia is an ideal location to take advantage of all the area has to offer, including both urban activities and natural retreats. Visit the Liberty Bell and countless historical sites, stroll around the vibrant and varied neighborhoods, take a day-trip to the beach, enjoy lively restaurants and cafes, bike through Fairmount Park—the possibilities are limitless. Philadelphia has something to offer for everybody.

As Philadelphia rapidly grows and develops, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia’s work to preserve the rich fabric of our neighborhoods becomes increasingly important. We work to maintain homeownership opportunities and improve the quality of life for individuals and families through new home construction, home rehabilitations, home repairs, and various community projects. This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia’s continuing growth as we strive to meet the need for affordable homeownership and repair opportunities in Philadelphia.

AmeriCorps members contribute a year of service, and in return receive a modest living stipend, a basic health insurance plan, an education award, job training, and personal and professional growth opportunities. You will leave your year of service not only with new transferrable skills, but also with a sense of community that comes with no other employment opportunity. Please visit habitatphiladelphia.org for more information.

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