Accessing Home deploys AmeriCorps members across Rhode Island to advocate for families experiencing housing instability. Since 2016, 18 AmeriCorps members have graduated from the program, earning professional certifications and over $75,000 in education awards!
I caught up with 3 former AmeriCorps members to see what they were up to and get their advice for new Accessing Home candidates. Here’s what Dominique has to say:
Accessing Home is currently recruiting AmeriCorps members for the 2019-2020 service year. Are you ready to serve? Apply today!
- Served: 2017-2018
- Site: West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, Providence, RI
- Current Job: Manager of Community Building at West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation
Why did you decide to join Accessing Home?
I joined AmeriCorps because I had just graduated college. I’m the type of person that is very interested in service. I saw that there was an AmeriCorps posting specifically about housing, Accessing Home, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, that’s perfect!” And that’s what made me apply.
Prior to joining AmeriCorps, what was your background?
I was studying political science and communication with a concentration in public relations. I graduated from college in 2017.
What did you gain from your AmeriCorps experience?
In the program I realized that I really enjoy educating people and doing the Rent RIte tenant education classes more than managing a caseload. I think that was really helpful for me when I was looking at what’s next in my career.
What is your favorite memory from your AmeriCorps year?
My favorite memory from AmeriCorps was definitely teaching Rent RIte classes at McAuley Village. I saw a lot of intersections around why people have difficulty accessing home. For example, one client was having a hard time because she was in an abusive relationship and she just needed to get out. For her, getting out meant putting all of her expenses onto a credit card and that made it really hard for her to find housing because it ruined her credit. I was able to help her and give her a plan.
What is your proudest achievement from your AmeriCorps year?
I had a client who was about to go into bankruptcy when I met her. She felt her finances were so bad that she had to file for bankruptcy and, after the Rent RIte class, she realized that her debt was manageable. She was able to avoid bankruptcy because of the resources we gave her. Now she’s ready to buy a home!
What are you doing now, professionally?
I am now the manager of community building projects at West Elmwood, which is where I did my year of service. The timing couldn’t have been better. The person in the position was leaving and they knew that I was finishing my year. They saw the hard work I did during Accessing Home I was able to stay on as a full-time staff member because of AmeriCorps.
How will you use your education award?
I will use it to get my Masters in Public Administration.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about joining Accessing Home AmeriCorps?
I would tell them to do it! Being an AmeriCorps member allows you to really get to understand the community you’re serving in. Put yourself out there because this position is really about gaining the trust of residents. Be ready to do the work of building that trust and you’ll learn a lot from the residents and you’ll learn a lot about yourself.