What is the difference between Ohana and Open Referral? What is Open211?

Open Referral is both the name of this community of practice, and also the shorthand name of our format for community resource data (which is technically known as the Human Services Data Specification).

Ohana is both the name of the Code for America fellowship team that developed a ‘first draft’ of this model, and also the name of an API (Application Programming Interface) that the Ohana team developed in San Mateo county. The Ohana API was subsequently redeveloped by the Ohana team, based on feedback from the Open Referral community, to serve as a ‘reference implementation’ of the Open Referral model. [See the Ohana API on Github here.]

Open211 is a name that has been used by various groups and organizations over the years. 2-1-1 Ontario has an ‘Open211’ API (the first of its kind, to our knowledge). In 2011, a Code for America fellowship team built an Open211 app (it did not achieve adoption, but we learned valuable lessons from it). One of the first pilot projects for Open Referral is a group of organizations and technologists in DC who describe themselves as ‘DC Open211.’ But it is more of a concept than a formal affiliation.


Posted in: About Open Referral