Innovative Programs

‘Ohana Nui

Mission/Goal of Program
Translated as “extended family” from Hawaiian, `Ohana Nui is Hawaii’s adaptation of the national two-generation approach. Hawaii Department and Human Services (DHS) designed the `Ohana Nui strategy to introduce this approach and capitalize on the multigeneration family structure common in the state. On June 7, 2019, Governor David Y. Ige signed Act 82 (2019) which imbeds this integrated and multigeneration approach into the human services statute. Initiated in 2016, `Ohana Nui seeks to help families thrive by addressing the needs of the whole family, including housing, food and nutrition, health and wellness, education and economic stability, and social capital.
Programs/Services Offered

Hawaii DHS is continuing to implement 'Ohana Nui through a collaborative effort of the Governor, Legislature, multiple state agencies, and community-based service providers.  A Family Assessment Center (FAC) was created to address homelessness for families with children.  The FAC assesses families initially for housing instability and concurrently, addresses the other 'Ohana Nui self-sufficiency categories. The goal of the FAC was to move families from homelessness into semi-permanent or permanent housing within 90 days and with wrap-around supportive services.  The pilot project has been very successful and in February 2019, the FAC was duplicated on Oahu’s Waianae Coast.  The Villages of Maili (VOM) has three service components: (1) Family Assessment Center, (2) Individual Assessment Center, and (3) Bridge housing for households with a Permanent Supportive Housing voucher awaiting placement into permanent housing. In the near future, DHS will open another FAC in Puna on Hawaii Island.  

DHS is also developing a statewide human services IT system that will provide greater access to families and individuals in need of support, effectively creating a no-wrong-door or one-stop-shop entry point for application and determination of eligibility of benefits. The 'Ohana Nui Engineers, who were hand-selected as internal change agents, have been instrumental in creating the foundation for `Ohana Nui by breaking down silos within the department, opening communication pathways, and encouraging connectedness among and between programs and divisions as well as across departments and into the community. 

Hawaii DHS has also convened several community conversations to develop and enhance partnerships to ensure a statewide application of the whole-family principle. Non-profit provider partners will also assist by creating and implementing 'Ohana Nui programs to help streamline services between organizations, simplify the benefits delivery process for families, and ensure the most efficient use of human services resources. Hawaii DHS also engages for-profit partners to support these clients, such as banks who provide financial literacy services and instruction on how money works, and lines of credit. 

Moving forward with 'Ohana Nui, Hawaii DHS will focus on client engagement in shaping the rollout of the IT system and processes to families - metrics to determine effectiveness of 'Ohana Nui - and will draw from lessons learned. Committed to seeing the people of Hawaii thrive, DHS is taking additional measures to ensure the sustainability of this philosophy in the way the department fulfills its mission of meeting families where they dream through `Ohana Nui, the Aloha Spirit, and the DHS strategic plan.

Start Date
Friday, January 1, 2016
Type of Agency/Organization
State TANF Agency
Geographic Reach
Clientele/Population Served
Low-income and/or vulnerable families living in the state of Hawaii
Family Strengthening
Two-Generation Approaches
Special Populations
TANF Program Administration