What We Do

Our Services

Nia Imani Family, Inc. is Milwaukee’s only long-term transitional housing facility (up to 12 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.

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
  • Learn coping skills in response to trauma
  • Take part honestly in Nia Imani Family support groups, as well as one-on-one meetings
  • 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
  • Participate in Muhindi
  • Work toward a better understanding of their and their child/children’s health and developmental stages
  • Learn to maintain a standard lease agreement
  • 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-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.

Independent Living Skills

1. Job Training: The job training program provides hands-on job training experience. A key component is the Life Skills Curriculum, a skill-building program that focuses on job training and employment basics. The job training program includes the Ujamaa Boutique, a small clothing store operated by a peer resident as well as the on-site peer resident that provides program assistance. Participation in the operation of the boutique, which sells donated new or slightly used clothing, receives a budget for Women of Hope and gains valuable on-the-job training. Working as a peer resident is a stepping-stone to jobs outside of Nia Imani Family.

All women who successfully participate in the job training program will:
- complete the Life Skills Curriculum and Job Development Curriculum
- acquire hands-on job skills by working as a peer resident 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).

The Ujamaa 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 Inc is located. So many of our neighbors are fans of its high quality clothing at affordable prices.

2. Nutrition and Culinary Class: Residents learn how to plan and cook nutritious and affordable meals in our on-site kitchen/culinary area. There is weekly programming scheduled with collaborative partners 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 their child/children which makes a difference in how they learn and focus.

3. 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 and also themselves as this a goal they identify for themselves.

4. Computer Training: A volunteer come in as needed to help women learn the basic necessary computer skills for updating their resumes and doing employment searches.

5. Financial Management: Through weekly programming scheduled with collaborative partners 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.

6. Restorative Listening Circles: Quarterly meetings with all participants to address the environment in which they live. Circles are incorporated into support groups and meetings hosted by Nia Imani Family.

7. Women of Hope: Bi-weekly resident 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 bi-weekly program managed by our program staff.
  • Mothers-only Reading Book Club:  Scheduled with collaborative partners. 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 volunteering to read.
  • Healthy Parenting Support Curriculum: Weekly program 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, and even use Women of Hope as support for planning.

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.  
  • Employment & Education: They will plan their next educational goals and future job training needs to continue getting better jobs, 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.