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About Uniting Garden Homes, Inc.

UGHINC HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Uniting Garden Homes, Inc. (UGHI), is a non-profit organization which was established in 1999 as a membership organization that worked with local churches and neighborhood associations. The Mission, at that time, was to form a united front to address critical issues such as drug deals, prostitution, and vandalism. Originally funded by member dues and store donations, UGHI has maintained its commitment to the neighborhood while evolving away from the membership model to include diversified funding sources, numerous programs, and a leadership role in violence prevention, mental health and substance abuse education/healing efforts city-wide. Throughout the organization’s existence, the membership organization worked responsibly with stakeholders to provide strategies to combat the concerns of the neighborhood. UGHI has effectively and efficiently engaged the residents and stakeholders to combat concerns that fester due to unemployment, under-investment in the neighborhood and inequitable access to opportunities. UGHI believes that once people are provided with constructive methods for using their time through activities, gainful employment and mental wellness education, the neighborhood would significantly change.

In 2013, UGHI changed its mission and vision to reestablish and build capacity to address the needs of the community. Our process to accomplish the mission and vision is to involve stakeholders in an inclusive participatory model where neighborhood residents, agencies, businesses, and organizations work collectively under the UGHI umbrella to resolve community problems by formulating self-help strategies and linking those in need with support and resources. UGHI has gained needed leadership and direction from the Safe Zone initiative lead under the leadership of then Alderman Ashanti Hamilton. That allowed the organization to work using constructive approaches based on the needs of the community and creating vetting practices for collaborative efforts. ​

We built upon the Safe Zone initiative in partnering with the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention to collaborate in implementing the Cure Violence Model in 2018. As the sole organization in the State selected by the City of Milwaukee to implement this model. Following a competitive application process, UGHI was proud to house and coordinate the 414Life Team of violence interrupters, Outreach Workers and a Hospital Responder.

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The Cure Violence model views violence as a public health disease and treats it as such through targeted violence interruptions which stop the spread of violence. Our time leading the 414Life initiative. From 09/2018 to 07/2021, the violence interrupters team interrupted approximately 377 potential retaliations and potential volatile situations, referred 350 participants to work with the outreach team. The Outreach team worked with over 1500 participants, assisted 105 individuals obtain gainful employment and engaged 90 participants in volunteer activities in the community. The hospital responder worked with over 800 shooting victims to include their families. The entire program has been involved in over 100 community events and conducted approx.140 community events. The outreach team distributed over 5000 resource and public education material and assisted 200 people get connected with needed resources to include, domestic violence support, substance abuse and or mental health support and connected with assistance to navigate through the legal system.

 

As community needs persist, UGHI has remained steadfast to make the mission a reality. Since 2021, UGHI has advanced our organization through our partnership with the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention, now The Milwaukee Office of Community Wellness and Safety, Employ Milwaukee, and Prodigal Building Services to name a few. We have modeled our organization to follow the “Blueprint for Peace” plan. UGHI has capitalized on these opportunities with more focus and intention to health and wellness, focusing on trauma education, violence prevention, jobs, and opportunities for the community to thrive. We continue to research current models around community building and violence interruption.UGHI is in the final stage of creating a Holistic Behavioral Health Clinic to include Trauma Treatment. We have 3 State of Wisconsin licensed Clinical Substance Abuse providers, 2 Professional Licensed Therapist, a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and Medical Director on staff. The goal is to have the Clinic fully functional by the Fall of 2024. UGHI is also developing a plan for supportive housing and transitional living. We are at the table with key stakeholders planning to fully execute these plans. OUR HOPE is to extend past the Garden Homes area and join forces with more community organizations to provide services with neighborhoods that lack the same resources and support, as well as eliciting support from other organizations to enable us all to offer more comprehensive resources. OUR FOCUS is on the safety and well-being of our community which we know entails healing. We target safety and focus on health and wellness of the mind. We are continuously striving to increase our capacity to continue to promote healing and economic growth, to give everyone an opportunity to a better quality of life.

 

UGHI pays homage to Mr. Joe Bova and Demetrius Brown for their dedication to UGHI and the Garden Homes neighborhood. Without them, UGHI would not be in existence!

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