The Hawaii Office of Community Services (OCS) was established by Act 305 of the 1985 Hawaii State Legislature. Act 305 is codified as Chapter 371K of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS). OCS was created to consolidate the functions of several earlier anti-poverty agencies that administered State and Federal funds. These included the Office of Economic Opportunity, the Progressive Neighborhoods Program, the Refugee Resettlement Program and the State Immigrant Services Center.
According to HRS, “The primary purposes of [OCS] are to facilitate and enhance the development, delivery, and coordination of effective programs for those in need and to provide advice and assistance to the agencies of the executive branch, other private agencies in the human services field, and the legislature.”
OCS fulfills this mandate by managing a variety of State and Federal funded programs:
Federal funded programs include:
- Community Services Block Grants (CSBG) program, which directly serves more than 4,600 persons.
- OCS continues distribution of food commodities under The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, serving over 50,000 persons.
- OCS administers the distribution of goods and weatherization services through the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).
- OCS provides for Refugee Assistance,
- legal services and advocacy for about 750 individual children and their families in situations of family crisis, such as divorce, custody disputes, and other issues; and
- OCS distributes fresh Hawaii-grown produce to the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program for some 6,287 low-income seniors.
State funded programs include:
- Employment Core Services, assisting more than 600 immigrants and refugees, and more than 1,150 low-income persons, of whom nearly 400 eventually succeeded in obtaining and holding a job for a year. These totals included 52 refugees and 445 Micronesians who started with the program.
- Grants-in-Aid provide funds for a variety of operating and capital improvement projects across the state.
OCS does not itself deliver services directly to the client communities that it serves. Instead, OCS administers State and Federal funds through contracts with non-profit service agencies to provide these services.
Contact information for OCS:Office of Community Services
Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
830 Punchbowl Street, Room 420
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-5095