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FAQs

1. Is California Emergency Response Corps an AmeriCorps program?

 

Yes, California Emergency Response Corps (CERC) is an AmeriCorps program, one of four national service programs operating under Bay Area Community Resources. 

2. What will I be doing for my service term? 

 

CERC members serve with regional partners daily to expand services in vulnerable communities. Members day to day responsibilities can look different depending on which of our Regional Partners is their host site but the priority for all CERC Members is disaster preparedness outreach, helping local communities respond to, prepare, and recover from disasters. 

 

3. Are Members expected to travel?

 

Yes, Members are expected to travel for in-person CERC trainings and a mid-year retreat. Members are also expected to travel for deployments. 

 

4. What are deployments and how do they work?

 

CERC Members do not only serve at their regional partner site. They may be deployed anywhere in the state of California for up to two weeks to aid in disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. 

 

An organization or city may request AmeriCorps CERC members via California Volunteers (CV), and once CV has approved the request, CERC members can be deployed to the disaster site. 

 

Anywhere from 5-20 CERC Members can be deployed at once, this varies based on the specifics of the deployment. CERC members are deployed based on their geographical location to the disaster, the requirements of the deployment, and whether they have been deployed previously. While members may be deployed multiple times throughout their term, we want all CERC members to have the opportunity, should it arise, to deploy.

 

Deployments are short notice and members must be able to deploy within 24-48 hours of notification for up to two weeks. This means members should have plans in place for their plants, pets, and loved ones if they are called upon to deploy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Are deployments mandatory?

 

Deployments are mandatory and CERC Members are expected to be available to go on a deployment at any time during their service term. While deployments are mandatory, Members are not penalized in any way if they do not get deployed. 

 

6. What types of activities will members be tasked with on deployments?

 

Deployment tasks vary based on the disaster. Deployment missions can include canvassing, damage assessments, shelter management, donation management, providing evacuation notices, volunteer organization, clean up (mucking and gutting), mitigation and more. 

 

 

Program Benefits

1. What are the benefits in the full-term (1700 hr) program?

  • $30,000 Living Stipend (before taxes) spread evenly over ~11 months

  • $10,000 education award (combined Segal Education Award and California For All Education Award) upon completion of service, only 1700 hr members eligible for CFA Education Award. 

  • SNAP (Food Stamps)- for those eligible

  • Forbearance on existing qualifying student loans and payment of interest accrued during service

  • Health Benefits


2. What is the California for All Education Award?

The California for All Education Award is an award intended to supplement the Segal Education Award. It has been granted by the State of California to recognize and value your term of service. It is administered by California Volunteers, which is part of the Office of the Governor. They manage most state AmeriCorps programs and other volunteer initiatives in the state of California.

 

Please Note:

This award is only available to AmeriCorps Members who successfully complete a full 1700 hour term. Taxes will automatically be withheld, like a paycheck, before it is sent to you.

 

3. What is the Segal Education Award?

The Segal Education Award is given to Members upon the successful completion of their service term. It is meant to help members pay for educational expenses, such as loans, grad school, certificates, or school supplies post- AmeriCorps. The award is not given to the member as cash or a check; the member must request that AmeriCorps make a payment to an eligible loan provider or school. AmeriCorps will make payments directly to them on your behalf. The Segal Education Award must be used within 7 years of completing the program.

 

4. What student loans qualify for forbearance during my service term?

 

AmeriCorps Members are eligible to put qualified student loans into forbearance throughout your term of service so you do not have to make regular payments on them, and to have interest accrued during your service term repaid by AmeriCorps! 

 

Qualified student loans include loans backed by the federal government under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (except PLUS Loans to parents of students), loans under Titles VII or VIII of the Public Service Health Act, and/or loans made by a state agency. These cannot apply to private loans or other types of loans, even if those loans were for educational purposes. Learn more here about what kinds of loans are qualified for this benefit (scroll down to the "Repay Qualified Student Loans" section).

5. Do members get time off during their service term?

The program is structured so that a full-term member completing an average of 40 hours each week during their 11-month service term would be able to take approximately 80 hours off in addition to the 13 paid holidays. Time off must be requested in advance with both their Site and Regional Supervisor, and approved before time can be taken.

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