About OCS

The Office of Community Services (OCS) was established by Act 305 of the 1985 Hawaii State Legislature to consolidate the functions of several earlier anti-poverty agencies that administered state and federal funds.  Act 305 was codified as Chapter 371K of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS). OCS works to fulfill its mandate by administering grants for programs that assist low-income individuals and families, refugees, and immigrants so they can live healthier lives and achieve greater economic self-sufficiency. The Office is administratively attached to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

State funded programs:   The Hawaii State Legislature appropriates millions of dollars in grants-in-aid (GIA) under HRS Chapter 42F to non-profit organizations each year and designates OCS to administer many of the grants. For FY 2018, OCS was designated as the expending agency for 21 Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) and 17 Operating GIAs for a total of $8.1 million.

2018 Grants-In-Aid
17 – Operating $1,905,900
21 – CIP $6,231,000
38   Total   $8,136,900


Separately, OCS administers approximately $1.3 million in grants for employment service programs for over 400 Low-Income Persons (LIP) and Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) to help them with job training and placement so they can secure and maintain employment.

Federally funded programs:

Community Services Block Grants (CSBG) program supports a wide variety of anti-poverty, social-service programs through an annual $3.7 million grant specifically for Hawaii’s four Community Action Agencies: Hawai’i Community Action Program (HCAP), Hawai’i County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC), Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO), and Kaua’i Economic Opportunity (KEO).

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) provide low income individuals and families with food through separate annual grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s Food and Nutrition Services branch that have a combined value of around $2 million per year.  

Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provide low-income senior citizens with fresh fruits, vegetables, and honey from local farmers through a $499,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s Food and Nutrition Services branch.

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provide home weatherization devices, certain energy-saving appliances, and services to help reduce energy costs for low-income individuals through a $216,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and a $417,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through an agreement with the Hawaii State Department of Human Services.

Legal Advocacy for Children & Their Families provides legal assistance to low-income households with children to help stabilize families through a $282,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Refugee Resettlement Assistance Programs (ORR) provides cash-assistance, medical-aid, and social services to refugees under a $75,000 annual grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

OCS administers state and federal funds through contracts with non-profit organizations and does not provide services directly to clients. Individuals seeking services should contact the appropriate service-providing agency.

Office of Community Services
Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
830 Punchbowl Street, Room 420
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-5095
Telephone: 808-586-8675
Email: dlir.ocs@hawaii.gov