Refer to VISTA Member Handbook: Chapter 13: Other Terms & Conditions of Service


One of the three fundamental assumptions of AmeriCorps VISTA is that the skills and energies of AmeriCorps VISTA members are used most effectively when they live and work with the low-income people they are serving. In keeping with this philosophy, you are expected to secure housing using your living allowance, which is provided to cover the basic costs of food, housing, and utilities. You should look for housing within the community to which you are assigned. Because members' living allowances are limited, you are allowed to accept offers of free or low-cost housing made by community members, local organizations, educational institutions, or sponsoring organizations.

Some examples of housing that you may accept include:

•A community resident offers unused free housing space to you because he or she is proud to have an AmeriCorps VISTA member in the community.
•A local business wants to offer a vacant apartment over the shop area.
•A national housing company offers reduced-rate housing for volunteers who are serving in a given community and you meet the eligibility requirements.
•A local, state, or federal government agency provides free or low-cost housing in areas with limited housing opportunities.
•A sponsoring organization rents housing space on your behalf.
•A sponsoring organization allows you to occupy a portion of existing space the sponsor already owns or rents.
Under no circumstances may you accept money directly from a sponsoring organization or others to supplement your living allowance or pay for rent.

Accepting free or reduced-cost housing may increase the amount of your reportable income for tax purposes.

You are also fully responsible for any legal or financial issues with your landlord (e.g., the project closes and you owe money on your lease).