Office of Community & Homeless Services (OCHS)

The Office of Community and Homeless Services (OCHS) performs grants administration and planning functions required to manage federal, state, and local funds by reviewing applications for funding, conducting homeless and low-income service planning activities, awarding service project grants, developing contracts, monitoring project performance, and evaluating service performance data. OCHS also provides direct services to clients through the Housing and Essential Needs Program and the Investing In Futures Initiative. 

Community Development Block Grant-Public Services
The Community Development Block Grant-Public Services (CDBG-PS) program is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). OCHS awards grants to eligible organizations that undertake a variety of public service activities that support low-and moderate income persons. For more information, consult the Housing and Community Development Consolidated Plan (CON Plan) webpage where you can also view the Annual Action Plan (Action Plan), and the Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER).

Community Action Program (CAP)
As a designated Community Action Agency (CAA), the Human Services Department operates several programs that fit within our role as a CAA. The overall purpose is to alleviate and eliminate the effects of poverty. To this end, the OCHS manages and administers a number of community action activities, including the Low Income Needs Assessment, Community Services Advisory Council (CSAC), reporting on programs, and administering the Community Services Block Grant.

Community Services Block Grant
The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program is federal and state funding that supports activities for low-income persons in Snohomish County. OCHS awards funds through the CSAC, to organizations for eligible services that address the identified priority needs from the Low Income Needs Assessment.

Consolidated Homeless Grant
The Consolidated Homeless Grant (CHG) program is Washington State funding that supports activities for persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. OCHS awards funds to eligible organizations and are tied to state and local homeless planning activities.

Continuum of Care Program
The Continuum of Care Program (CoC) Program is a federally funded grant program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. OCHS administers grants to eligible organizations and is responsible for CoC planning activities. The CoC planning activities address the housing and services needs for people who are experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. CoC project grants only support projects for people experiencing homelessness.

Ending Homelessness Program
The Ending Homelessness Program (EHP) program is funded with local document recording fees and supports planning activities, the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), and projects that support those experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. OCHS awards funds to eligible organizations that directly assist people with housing and services.

Emergency Solutions Grant
The Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program is a federally funded program (HUD) that supports shelter and housing activities for persons experiencing homelessness. The county does not fund homeless prevention activities with ESG funds at this time. OCHS awards grants to eligible organizations that undertake emergency shelter and rapid rehousing activities.

Homeless Management Information System
The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is a system required by the state and federal governments to collect data for planning, reporting, and evaluation purposes. The OCHS is the lead agency responsible for the HMIS.

Housing & Essential Needs Grant Program
OCHS administers the state funded Housing and Essential Needs Grant Program (HEN) program. Part of the funding supports the HEN services housing program, and part of the grant supports the HEN essential needs. OCHS awards essential needs funding to an eligible organization to provide the assistance. OCHS Community Services Counselors provide direct rental assistance to eligible clients who are homeless or at-risk of homeless and are eligible in the Department of Social and Health Services benefit system.

Investing In Futures (IIF)
In 2009 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) started work on a new initiative to end family homelessness in collaboration with King County, Pierce County, and Snohomish County. Snohomish County rolled out a pilot initiative under the BMGF Investing in Families Initiative (IIF) to end family homelessness. The pilot effort blossomed into a system-wide effort to address homelessness which is combined with Continuum of Care planning to form the county's Investing in Futures broader work to end homelessness, alleviate poverty and make Snohomish County a better place for all of our citizens. OCHS is an integral part of the IIF work in providing data support through HMIS, planning activities, and coordination support. OCHS IIF Counselors provide direct coordinated entry services to families.

OCHS Staff
OCHS client services staff provide direct services to clients of the Housing and Essential Needs Program and the Investing In Futures Initiative and are located in the Human Services Department customer service area on the lower level of the Drewel Building. The administrative offices of OCHS are located on the fourth floor of the West Administration building. To contact us, please call 425-388-7200.