Housing Justice Center is hiring an AmeriCorps VISTA Tenant Organizer for the 2023-24 Service Year!
Housing Justice Center (HJC) is a nonprofit public interest legal and policy advocacy organization dedicated to the production and preservation of affordable housing and the protection of the rights of people who need affordable places to call home. The tools we use for this work are community organizing, research, education, policy advocacy, and legal advocacy.
Our primary goals are to:
- Prevent affordable housing loss, tenant displacement, and exploitation of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) households, people with disabilities, and low-wealth people
- Ensure people have real choices for safe, healthy, affordable, accessible, culturally adaptive, and convenient housing
- Support communities in building power to drive decision-making about their housing future
HJC VISTA Project Overview
This VISTA project seeks to expand Housing Justice Center’s capacity to address housing instability, the lack of tenant rights knowledge, and limited organizing infrastructure for renters and manufactured housing residents in exurban Minnesota. Key issues include displacement threats, discrimination, mismanagement, unaffordability, and repair problems. This project will focus on the exurban Twin Cities counties of Wright, Sherburne, Isanti, and Chisago. The VISTA Tenant Organizer will build capacity to support low-income disabled, BIPOC, and/or immigrant renters by forging new community partnerships, developing and delivering tenant rights training, and helping create at least one new resident association in a targeted property.
This VISTA Member is part of HOME Line’s Tenant Organizing VISTA Project cohort.
The HJC VISTA Tenant Organizer will build organizing infrastructure in the targeted counties of Wright, Isanti, Sherburne, and Chisago. Duties include:
- Assess the infrastructure needs for sustained tenant organizing in exurban Minnesota
- Complete a Community Assessment for target counties
- Develop and implement an outreach plan to connect with community partners and properties for engagement and tenant rights training
- Develop and deliver tenant rights trainings in target communities
- Support the creation of one tenant association via organizing activities such as door-knocking, one-to-one meetings, community meetings, and leadership development with residents
- Work in collaboration with other VISTA members in the HOME Line cohort to support and expand partnerships and complete project goals
- Engage in professional development activities to support personal leadership and continued growth
AmeriCorps Eligibility Requirements
- Must be at least 18 years old.
- Must have a high school diploma or GED. Some college may be helpful but is not required.
- Must be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. National or have status as a Lawful Permanent Resident.
- AmeriCorps members must not engage in prohibited activities during their service year. Please review information on prohibited activities at: https://www.mcnvista.org/vista-policies
Finalists are required to provide two professional references and complete the online AmeriCorps application, as well as an FBI criminal background check. A criminal record does NOT necessarily disqualify you from a VISTA position.
- Dedication to participating in a year of national service
- Ability to work collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team of legal professionals, organizers, advocates, renters, and community partners
- Commitment to systems change and power-building with renters
- Effective communication skills
- Strong social/emotional intelligence and relational skills
- Self-motivation and ability to take initiative
- Enthusiasm for working with individuals impacted by housing insecurity across a broad range of experiences including socioeconomic background, upbringing, religion, education, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, and disability
- Interest in the housing justice and/or legal fields
- Grassroots organizing experience
- Openness to engaging in door-to-door outreach
- Enthusiasm for developing personal and professional leadership qualities in self and tenant leaders
- Bilingual language skills in Spanish, Somali, and/or Hmong
- Service year runs from 8/28/2023—8/27/2024
- Weekly Schedule: Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm, with flexibility allowed to complete project goals. Occasional evenings and weekends and travel into the Minneapolis/St Paul area will be required.
- Some work can be performed remotely; some work must be performed in-person in Wright, Sherburne, Isanti, and Chisago counties.
- Access to reliable transportation required.
- VISTA Members serve in a full-time capacity of 40 hours per week during their year-long term of service.
- Per AmeriCorps, VISTA Members may NOT be in school full-time or have another full-time position.
Benefits of Service
- Modest Living Allowance ($877.66 pre-tax, biweekly)
- $400 monthly housing stipend (paid directly to landlord or mortgage provider)
- Education award of $6,495 annually for each year of service, or an alternative cash stipend of $1,800 upon completion of service year
- VISTA Healthcare allowance of $7,900
- For VISTAs relocating more than 50 miles: $750 settling-in allowance in addition to mileage reimbursement
- Child care assistance
- Mileage reimbursement
- Those receiving public assistance (such as Social Security, SNAP/EBT, or housing subsidy) will not have eligibility or level of assistance affected. The stipend is excluded income in HUD subsidized rental housing.
- Federal student loan forbearance or credit toward the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program during the service year
- 10 vacation/personal days and 10 sick days plus holidays
- Professional development budget and ongoing support and training
- Training in tenant/landlord laws, subsidized housing rules, and community organizing strategies
- Training from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs’ Neighborhoods Now! community organizing program
- VISTAs are allowed to have a part-time job or take part-time courses with supervisor approval
This program is available to all, without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or expression, public assistance status, marital or parental status, and physical appearance. Reasonable accommodations provided upon request for interviews and service activities.
TO APPLY: Please send a cover letter and resume to Ivory Taylor, Associate Director, at email@example.com. Applications will be reviewed starting in May 2023. This position is open until filled.