NIA (Nurturing Independence and Aspirations)
YWCA has responded to the special needs of young adults transitioning out of failing systems, such as foster care. The NIA program–Nurturing Independence and Aspirations–is a Trauma-Informed System of Care model focused on permanence, education, employment, housing, physical and mental health, and personal and community engagement for youth 18 to 24 years of age transitioning from failing systems – including foster care. Under the guidance of a Life Coach, NIA participants pursue educational opportunities, focus on career development, learn the importance of health care, and develop life and parenting skills.
Studies have shown that within four years of emancipation from foster care, 24 percent of young adults have been homeless.
Building on the success of our NIA program, YWCA Greater Cleveland created Independence Place to address the critical need for housing and supportive services of homeless youth, many of whom have transitioned out of foster care.
Independence Place offers permanent supportive housing with 23 apartments (one-third accommodating children.) There is no time limit on how long families can stay there – and it is targeted towards women ages 18-24 years old experiencing homelessness.
In the past seven years about 50 young people have left Independence Place and are living in the community. More than 80 percent have maintained their housing and are thriving.