The Accessing Home initiative provides partner agencies in Rhode Island with an opportunity to build organizational capacity and technical expertise around affordable housing asset management and resident services systems. AmeriCorps members are trained as Asset Building Specialists to support partners in their efforts to improve their portfolio’s bottom line by engaging residents, providing supportive services to promote resident housing stability, assessing ‘resident as customer’ systems and tracking key financial sustainability indicators. The initiative provides a great opportunity for partners to cultivate a cohort of new housing professionals for their organization.
What is AmeriCorps?
For their service, AmeriCorps members receive a living allowance, an education award and other benefits.
Accessing Home AmeriCorps members serve specifically in the fields of affordable housing and community development. Hosted by participating organizations, Accessing Home AmeriCorps members primarily deliver an array of programs and services at their sites, including Rent RIte, a tenant education course, and Back-on-Track, an eviction prevention program.
The Value Added
In addition to the inherent value of providing low-income families in need with supportive housing services, the programs delivered by AmeriCorps members are designed to increase the cash flow of partners’ housing portfolios. Through group and one-on-one coaching and other engagement activities, Members will develop knowledgeable and responsible tenants who meet their lease obligations. By targeting residents at-risk of eviction and potential tenants who have not yet entered housing, Members can help to minimize legal and eviction costs, reduce operating costs, increase collections, and reduce vacancy rates. Members are also trained to assist with other asset management functions and data analysis of the impact of their work.
The goal of this program is to prepare potential tenants for successful residency in affordable housing units. Rent RIte is a free 4 week, 8 hour educational series designed to help participants gain the tools and knowledge needed to help overcome barriers and achieve housing stability. With guidance from an Asset Building Specialist, this interactive class is designed to help participants find, apply to, qualify for, and move into high quality affordable housing. Lessons include: the application process, barriers in securing rental housing, the importance of credit and the impact it has on everyday lives, managing money and debt through budgeting, elements of a lease, landlord and tenant roles, the move in process, conflict resolution skills, healthy housing, and eviction prevention. Participants will each receive a copy of their credit report and a certificate of completion as part of this program.
Eviction devastates households; tenants who’ve been evicted have great difficulty being accepted as tenants in other properties, become disconnected from important social-support networks, experience high-stress, and may become homeless. For property owners and managers, eviction is also costly. Turnover means additional legal expense, recruitment of new tenants, and apartment make-ready costs. However, protocols can be put in place to prevent evictions, not only benefiting the tenants but the property owners and managers as well. Accessing Home AmeriCorps members work to implement and refine evidence-based eviction prevention processes, from referral to evaluation, at their service sites. At the point of intervention, AmeriCorps members triage tenants at-risk of eviction and make appropriate action plans tailored to each client and the partner’s goals. Successful interventions reduce expenses and vacancies and improve collections and increase cash flow.
Ready to Apply?
Applications to host Accessing Home AmeriCorps members are accepted on a rolling basis. Review host site requirments before applying. Interested organizations must complete the Accessing Home AmeriCorps Program Sub-site Application 2018 and submit via email to Laura Roach, Accessing Home Program Manager. Applications should not exceed five pages in length and must include the subsite guarantee page with initials and the signature page signed by someone authorized to make decisions on behalf of your organization. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Please email completed applications to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any questions may also be directed to Laura. She can be reached by e-mail or phone (401-762-0993 ext. 205).