Every one of us needs some kind of help, support or "service," almost constantly.  We need our families to love us, our friends to give us advice and encouragement.  We need education and training to be productive, public transportation to get to work, doctors and therapists when our health fails us, and unemployment insurance when we lose our jobs. Special circumstances or chronic conditions such as poverty, illness or disability multiply our needs, so much so that we truly cannot live without them.   

No network of family and friends can eliminate our dependence on services. But in almost every instance it's easy to imagine how the engaged support of an "ohana" neighborhood can help to lift the burdens of daily life we all carry, ease our dependence on more formals systems of care, and offer us the privelege of contributing to the lives of one another.  


Brenda Eheart, founder and executive director of Generations of Hope Development Corporation, describes this model as "a hybrid," combining social service with community living, designed to:

shift the initiative for care and support from professional service providers back to the neighborhood, creating a way of life where everyone...can contribute and succeed.  It puts into action the belief that ordinary people of all ages and abilities can be assets in addressing the difficult challenges we all face through the course of living.  
(Eheart, 2014) 


Key Elements of the Ohana Community Model


  • The Village--an enhanced residential environment, designed to promote accessibility, social interaction and aging-in-community for a diverse and intergenerational population. Residents will enjoy private homes as well as common amenities and shared spaces.

  • Ohana Village Community Formation and Support Initiatives: a constellation of professionally led, resident-driven supports and activities designed to promote abilities and interests as well as mutual engagement in the personal and social "intentions" of the Ohana community.

  • Ohana Intersections (a program of Building Ohana): cooperative initiatives designed to highlight, support and create connections between Ohana Village residents and the wider community through hospitality, service and enterprise.

Intentional Community:  A neighborhood model for social engagement

There is no substitute for the deep and daily connections we make with the
important people who know and love us.