This summer the San Juan County Health and Community Services Department in collaboration with the Family Resource Centers on Lopez, Orcas, and the San Juan Islands and the Opportunity Council will launch a three-year AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) poverty alleviation project specifically aimed at increasing economic opportunities for island residents through housing and financial stability efforts.
The VISTA project will target the homeless housing system and other countywide needs by focusing on the Point-in-Time Count, Coordinated Entry, housing inventory development and a variety of financial literacy initiatives. As both a tourist destination and retirement community, the islands are faced with unique issues for individuals living on low incomes or facing homelessness due to large seasonal shifts in employment and population. This equates to housing cost and supply issues, unreliable employment and, as a result, difficulty in the ability to maintain overall household stability. The VISTA project efforts will help the Health &Community Services Department and Family Resources Centers better leverage available resources while facilitating coordination and cohesiveness between islands.
The AmeriCorps VISTA program helps social service agencies build capacity and sustainability within their organizations so they can more efficiently and effectively provide services to those who need them most. Founded in 1965, VISTA has been on the forefront of ending poverty in America for over 50 years.
National Service Members make a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. They focus on building the organizational, administrative, and financial capacity of the agencies that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic development, and otherwise assist low-income communities.
Individuals interested in becoming a National Service Member within the VISTA program get the opportunity to give back to a community in need and serve their county while gaining valuable job skills and professional development training. Those interested in serving San Juan County as a VISTA member in this role can apply at https://goo.gl/72YM5G.