What We Do

Our Services

Nia Imani Family, Inc. is Milwaukee’s only long-term transitional housing facility (up to 24 months) with wrap-around services for it residents.  It  is for homeless, pregnant or young mothers between the ages of 18 and 25 most of whom are without a  job or  the income to support themselves and their children.

Wrap Around Life skills training: Women Who Live at Nia Imani Family, Inc. must commit to the following:

  • Adhere to the rules and regulations of the program/building
  • Deal with the mental health and trauma issues that their life experiences might have caused
  • Take part honestly in Nia Imani Family support groups, as well as one-on-one reviews
  • Develop short and long-term goals for themselves and their families and learn to apply the CALN cycle to themselves (plan, act, observe, reflect, and start again)
  • Work on self-examination and figure out their core values and life goals, so that they develop resiliency in the face of life’s adversity
  • Learn self-care, responsibility and money management
  • Pay monthly program fees as they are able ,so they learn the importance of paying rent and not to become homeless again
  • Attend PIWI classes (Parents Interaction With Infants)
  • Work toward a better understanding of their and their child/children’s health and developmental stages
  • Learn to be a responsible long-term tenant
  • Participate in nutritional and cooking classes
  • Maintain a drug and alcohol-free home; quitting smoking is encouraged
  • Maintain a clean, orderly and safe living environment
  • Participate in in-house and outside social activities and requirements of good citizenship as a part of Women of Hope
  • Understand that there are different circles of Family, that co-participants are ”sisters” and that a support group is critical to living and learning in a good life

Program participants, with staff, set personal, professional and education goals for themselves and their children. Each woman utilizes programs and support services based on her individual needs and goals. Their progress is evaluated every 30 days using The Development Compass, a tool developed by Prof. Daniel Folkman , University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (ret) and Ms. Pittman-McGee., which measures a participants ongoing progress in eight key areas.

Independent Living Skills

  • Second Chance Project (Job Training): The Second Chance Project provides hands-on job training experience. A key component is the Life Skills Curriculum, a three-month skill-building program that focuses on job training and employment basics. In 2005, the Second Chance Project expanded to include the Dress for Less Boutique, a small clothing store operated by a part-time staff member and women who have completed the Life Skills Curriculum. Women who participate in the operation of the store, which sells donated new or slightly used clothing, receive small stipends and gain valuable on-the-job training. Working in the Boutique is a stepping-stone to jobs outside of Nia Imani Family. The program is supported by volunteers from the business and faith communities and supervised and implemented by Nia Imani Family staff.

    All women who successfully participate in the Second Chance Project will:

    - complete the Life Skills Curriculum (job skills training)
    - acquire hands-on job skills by working at the on-site Dress for Less Boutique or elsewhere,
    - work with Nia Imani Family staff to create a sustainability plan for themselves and their children      (including plans for housing, employment, and supporting their children’s academic success).

    Besides the obvious job training for our residents, the Dress for Less Boutique provides a valuable community asset in Milwaukee’s central city. There is no sizable clothing store in the entire zip code where Nia Imani Family is located, so many of our neighbors are fans of its high quality clothing at very affordable prices.

    The Second Chance Project, of which the Dress for Less Boutique and the Life Skills Curriculum are large parts, has led Nia Imani Family graduates to successful, stable lives in which women live independently and support themselves and their children.

  • Nutrition and Culinary Class: Residents learn how to plan and cook nutritious and affordable meals in our on-site kitchen/culinary area. Volunteers come in twice monthly to teach the mothers how to prepare and cook cook meals that are affordable there are many pitfalls on the road to good nutrition for very low income families they learn how to grocery shop and to utilize community farmer markets and preparing nutritious meal for there child/children it makes a difference in how they learn and focus.
  • Education Support/Referrals: Many of the children have special educational needs related to family instability and infrequent school attendance and daycare. Mothers are helped by the Nia Imani Family program staff to establish a relationship with school officials to ensure the best academic outcomes for their children.
  • Computer Training: A volunteer come in as needed to help women learn the basic necessary computer skills for updating there resumes and doing employment searches.
  • Financial Management: A volunteer from PNC Bank comes in once weekly and the Women learn budgeting, banking, and general financial planning to help ensure their future success and independence, they also meet once monthly with Nia Imani program staff.
  • Community In House Meeting: Monthly meeting for all residents to address building and community issues within the environment in which they live.

Facing Past Traumas

  • Women's Support Group: Weekly, volunteer-led program focusing on the women themselves. Includes topics such as health, wellness and relationships

Parenting Skills

  • Muhindi Program (Family Literacy)The Muhindi Program was started to encourage reading, educational success and positive parenting among the mothers and their children. “Muhindi” is Swahili for harvest and continues as a weekly program managed by our program staff and volunteers. The group is held twice monthly.

    The Muhindi Program helps parents take a more positive and engaged role in their children’s educations. Nia Imani Family staff sometimes accompany parents to parent/teacher conferences, particularly when children have special needs or have been identified as being behind in school.
  • Mothers and Children Gathering Program: One evening every week, mothers and their children gather in our common area to read and play and learn together.  was born from our recognition that parents needed time to socialize with each other in a safe setting that also built up bonds with their children. Many of the children at Nia Imani have experienced traumas—the breakup of their family unit, homelessness, violence, parental incarceration and substance abuse, and/or time in and out of the foster care system. Many of these children also have educational, behavioral or emotional special needs
  • PIWI: Parent Interacting With Infants: The sessions vary, with a range of activities that focus on mother/child bonding,  parent/child interaction, parenting support, and focused activities that involve parents with their child
  • Mothers-only Reading Book Club: A volunteer-led weekly program. Women read aloud from and discuss books. A light meal or snack is included. Over time, improvements in reading abilities and confidence levels are usually quite obvious. As women become more comfortable, they tend to participate more in discussions and by volunteering to read.
  • Parenting Group: Weekly program by The Milwaukee Health Department to help support mothers in their parenting.
  • Family Time: Moms must plan a special outing—such as a museum or library visit—to enjoy with their children once per month. Families are encouraged to explore community resources.

Future Planning

  • Graduation: Some of these young women need a strong incentive to keep them living according to the rules and expectations of change.  So the Director has created a bargain with them: they get as a “dowry” of  all their furniture and household goods they have been provided with through the program from our many commercial and individual donors.  This will help establish themselves in their new housing which Nia Imani has help them find.  And NI will give them their first month’s rent and security deposit
  • Education: they will have been planning their next educational goals and future job training needed to continue getting better jobs and better pay  and  raising their standard of living.
  • Nu Iota Alpha Sorority: each graduate becomes a member of our Alumni sorority which will give them a social group involving mutual support, social projects & Nia Imani resident mentoring.