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Second Chance Act Comprehensive Community-Based Adult Reentry Program

Grants to USA Nonprofits and Tribes to
Facilitate the Reintegration of Former Offenders

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

05/01/18 11:59 PM ET


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations and Indian tribes to offer reentry programs and services for individuals returning from incarceration and former offenders. Applicants are advised to create or verify the required registrations well in advance of the deadline date.


Over 2.1 million individuals are incarcerated in federal and state prisons, and millions of people cycle through jails every year. Ninety-five percent of all incarcerated individuals today will eventually be released and will return to communities. The Second Chance Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-199) provides a comprehensive response to ensure that the transition individuals make from prison, jail, or juvenile residential facilities to the community is successful and promotes public safety.

Second Chance Act grant funding is designed to help communities develop and implement comprehensive and collaborative strategies that address the challenges posed by reentry and recidivism reduction. “Reentry” is not a specific program, but rather a process that starts when an individual is initially incarcerated and ends when he or she has been successfully reintegrated in the community as a law-abiding citizen.

Program-specific Information:

The Second Chance Act Comprehensive Community-based Adult Reentry Program supports organizations or tribes providing comprehensive reentry services to program participants throughout the transition from jail or prison to the community. Under this solicitation, BJA is seeking applications to implement or expand on reentry programs that demonstrate strong partnerships with corrections, parole, probation, law enforcement, and other reentry service providers. These partnerships should enhance efforts to meet the needs of individuals at medium- to high-risk to reoffend, as determined by validated criminogenic risk assessments. This includes ensuring cognitive behavioral programming is in place pre-release, whether by the lead applicant or a partnering agency.

Participants are expected to be screened, assessed, and identified for program participation pre-release. During the post-release phase of the reentry program, participants will receive case management services and be connected to evidence-based programming designed to ensure that the transition from prison or jail to the community is safe and successful. Where feasible, case management services and evidence-based programming should begin during the pre-release phase.


Proposed programs should document plans to evaluate the impact of their collaborations and the services provided. Applicants are encouraged to explore outcomes such as program engagement, family reunification and stability, financial literacy/economic stability, housing stability, and other outcomes in addition to recidivism reduction.

Community- and faith-based organizations are well situated to respond to the needs of the reentry population because they are often located in the communities to which these men and women are returning; they hire staff from the local community; and they are well connected to networks of other service providers that address the individualized needs of people leaving incarceration.

Community- and faith-based organizations are also well positioned to engage with people who have been incarcerated, spent time on probation/parole, and/or participated in reentry programming, including eliciting and providing insight on how reentry programs can be developed and implemented to support successful reintegration. Community- and faith-based organizations can also work with the formerly incarcerated population in other important ways, either as peer mentors and/or employed program staff, because they may be viewed as role models with whom participants can identify, as compared with other professional staff who may be viewed as authority figures.

In FY 2018, there are two categories of grants supported under this solicitation. Eligible applicants are limited to nonprofit organizations(including tribal nonprofit organizations) with a documented history of providing comprehensive, evidence-based reentry services, and federally recognized Indian tribes (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior).

Category 1 – Community-based Adult Reentry (Competition ID: BJA-2018-13992):
-Target Population: The proposed program must commit to serving a minimum of 150 people that meet the target population requirements of this grant.

Category 2 – Community-based Adult Reentry with Small and Rural Organizations (Competition ID: BJA-2018-13993):
- Applicants must demonstrate an annual operating budget of $1,000,000 or less and not be a chapter or affiliate of a national organization, as defined by having a licensing or other agreement where the national entity provides financial and/or operational support. Special consideration will be given to those organizations operating in and serving a rural area of the country.
-Target Population: The proposed program must commit to serving a minimum of 75 people that meet the target population requirements of this grant.

Goal, Objectives, and Deliverables:


The goal of the Community-based Adult Reentry Program is to support community- and faith-based organizations in developing and implementing comprehensive and collaborative programs that reduce recidivism of people who are reentering communities from incarceration who are at medium to high risk of reoffending. Recidivism reduction is a cornerstone of a crime reduction strategy and this program supports the Department of Justice’s priority of reducing violent crime and increasing public safety.


-Develop comprehensive case management plans that directly address criminogenic risks and needs, as identified by validated criminogenic risk assessments, and include delivery or facilitation of services in a manner consistent with participants’ learning styles and abilities.
-Demonstrate increased collaboration between community- and faith-based organizations and corrections, community supervision, law enforcement, and other local reentry stakeholders.


Applicants will be required to address the following mandatory requirements in their proposal. All grantees will be expected to submit a Planning and Implementation Guide at the end of their planning phase and a final evaluation report at the end of the program.

Mandatory Requirements:

1. Planning Phase. Include in the proposal a timeline and plan for a planning phase of up to 12 months. Grantees will be expected to complete a planning phase, prior to implementing services, which requires working with BJA’s technical assistance provider and approval from BJA before activity may begin toward the full implementation of their programs. During the planning phase, applicants will build upon and strengthen compliance with the mandatory requirements as well as clarify and enhance program operations and service delivery.

a. Grantees will receive intensive technical assistance and will be allowed to access a portion of the total grant award ($200,000 for Category 1 and $100,000 for Category 2) in order to complete and submit a required Planning and Implementation Guide provided by the BJA technical assistance provider—the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC)—which will guide each grantee in developing a strategic plan that incorporates evidence-based programs, policies, and practices. Program budget approval and coordination with a technical assistance coordinator is required to complete and submit a planning and implementation guide.

b. Once Planning and Implementation Guides are submitted and approved by BJA, and a special condition to release the funds has been approved, grantees will move into the Implementation Phase of their project and gain access to the remainder of their grant funds.

2. Correctional Partner Memorandum of Agreement. Include as an attachment a Memorandum of Agreement or Understanding (MOA or MOU), or other documentation more binding than a letter of support, that clearly demonstrates an established collaborative relationship between the applicant and the correctional agencies that: 1) oversee the specific facility or facilities from which the applicant proposes to recruit the target reentering population; and 2) oversee community corrections (probation and/or parole) for the target population. The MOAs/MOUs must include the following information:

a. The roles and responsibilities for staff from both agencies involved in the program.

b. Terms of access to the correctional facility or facilities for program staff. (If applicants are unable to conduct in-reach into correctional facilities, the application should explain the reason(s) why such access is not practicable.)

c. Information on pre-release programming and interventions provided by the correctional agency to each participant.

d. The data elements and performance measures that the partnering agencies will provide—or assist the grantee in obtaining—for the purpose of measuring the impact of grant activities. In particular, the MOAs/MOUs should account for how the applicant will receive information related to court and criminal justice system involvement such as re-arrest, reconviction, revocation, and reincarceration, as required by this solicitation’s performance measures.

e. A strong history of collaboration. The extent to which the applicant is able to demonstrate a collaborative partnership with institutional and/or community corrections agencies, access to participants within facilities prior to release , and the ability and willingness of institutional and/or community corrections agencies to share data for performance measurement purposes will be key factors in assessing the strength of applications.

Resource Note: Community-based Organizations and Corrections Agencies: Relationship Building Questionnaire. This questionnaire is designed to highlight topic areas that are important for community-based organizations to discuss with their potential corrections partner(s) prior to formalizing a partnership.

3. Law Enforcement Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). Include as an attachment a MOA or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), or other documentation more binding than a letter of support, which clearly demonstrates an established collaborative relationship between the applicant and the local law enforcement agency. The grantee may provide multiple MOAs/MOUs, as necessary, if providing services in multiple or overlapping jurisdictions (e.g., municipal police department and county sheriff’s office). The MOAs/MOUs should specify how the applicant will coordinate with law enforcement to address the complex issues of those returning from incarceration. Applicants are strongly encouraged to coordinate and consult with law enforcement in an advisory capacity and may consider utilizing them to provide training to staff and volunteers on the perspective and role of law enforcement.

4. Integration of Risk and Needs Assessment. Applicants must use, or collaborate with a corrections agency to use, information gathered from an empirically validated assessment tool(s) to determine the risk level and identify the criminogenic needs of the individuals to be referred to the program. Case plans/reentry plans should be directly informed by the information gathered from the risk and needs assessment. Applicants are expected to describe the proposed assessment process in the Program Narrative.

5. Cognitive-based Programming. Clearly document the evidence-based, cognitive- based programming that will be used to address criminogenic risk and needs pre- and post-release. If the program’s pre-release interactions are limited to screening, assessment, and identification for the program, document what existing cognitive-based services the population will receive while incarcerated (either from the corrections agency or other service providers) and how the program will build on or complement that programming.

6. Target Population. The Program Narrative must include an estimate of the total number of individuals the proposed program plans to serve during the project period (see Review Criteria at page 33). The number of individuals to be served must be at least 150 for Category 1 grantees and 75 for Category 2 grantees. Provide data to demonstrate that the number of individuals in the target population, which the application proposes to serve, is based on a reasonable estimate. The target population for the program must be a specific subset of:

-Medium- to high-risk individuals, as identified using a validated criminogenic risk assessment tool
-Aged 18 or older and convicted as an adult
-Incarcerated in a state, local, or tribal prison or jail at the time of enrollment in the program. For federally recognized Indian tribes, the individuals may be housed in a tribal, regional, county, or local jail pursuant to state or tribal law.

“Risk” is defined as the likelihood that a person will re-offend upon release from a facility. Applicants must identify the validated criminogenic risk assessment tool used to determine risk level and the risk levels eligible for participation (either high-risk or medium- and high-risk).

Applicants must identify and define the subset of individuals, or combination of subsets, that are proposed to be the target population of their program. For example, applicants may choose to specifically target individuals who, in addition to meeting the above criteria:
-Represent a specific demographic or set of demographics (age, gender, etc.);
-Are returning to a specific community, neighborhood, or zip code; and/or
-Are housed in the same facility.

7. Collaboration with an Evaluation Partner. Provide documentation that clearly demonstrates a partnership with an evaluator or researcher and a plan to coordinate on: developing outcomes; collecting and analyzing data; the development of a definition of recidivism that aligns to the identified baseline recidivism rate; the development of clear and quantitative definitions for key terms including “enrolled” and “completed”; monitoring and evaluating program performance; quality assurance of program services and operations; and conducting final analysis and completing a report.

8. Baseline Recidivism Rate. The Program Narrative should include a baseline recidivism rate for the proposed target population, specifying the definition used (e.g., arrest, conviction, reincarceration) and including documentation to support the development of the rate.

9. Plan to Measure Outcomes. Articulate a clear plan to track program participant outcomes for at least 12 months following release. This plan must describe the process for obtaining information about recidivism from the relevant law enforcement, correctional and/or community corrections agencies. As described in the Performance Measures section below, grantees will also be required to provide the number of program participants who are re-incarcerated within the 12-month period following their initial release.

10. Strong Partnerships. Articulate a clear plan to maintain regular communication with program partners including, at a minimum, quarterly meetings with formal partners including corrections, community corrections, and the evaluator to ensure information is being shared effectively, challenges are being troubleshot, and efforts to improve the program are developed in collaboration with stakeholders.

Priority Consideration:

Priority consideration will be given to applicants who:

1. Propose programs that target high-risk individuals who are currently convicted of a violent offense or have a history of violent offense convictions. When determining what qualifies as a violent offense, programs should consult with local law enforcement and use the definition that aligns with the definition used by the program’s local jurisdiction.

2. Provide for an independent evaluation of the project that includes, to the maximum extent feasible, random assignment of individuals to program delivery and control groups, as per the Second Chance Act, Section 211(c). Applicants may refer to this Research Partner Q&A document to learn answers to common questions about research partnerships, including how to identify a well-qualified research partner. If no existing research partnership is in place, inquiring with a sociology or criminology department at a local college or university is often a good place to start.

3. Incorporate feedback and involvement of victims of crime and their families, law enforcement, individuals who have been incarcerated, and families of incarcerated individual.

4. Programs that plan to develop or have an existing relationship with their local reentry council or task force and document efforts to collaborate and coordinate on reentry services.

5. Operate out of a rural area of the country and serve a population returning to a rural community. This consideration applies to Category 2 grant applicants.

Allowable Uses of Funds:

Although each of the Mandatory Requirements must be included in the application, additional uses for the funds may be proposed to ensure a robust, evidence-informed reentry program appropriate for the target population and jurisdiction.

1. Using Criminogenic Risk and Needs Information to Reduce Recidivism. Applicants can use grant funding to conduct assessments using reliable, locally validated risk and needs tools to match individuals with appropriate treatment and reentry services (Desmarais and Singh 2013). Alternatively, applicants may receive assessment information from their correctional and/or community corrections partner, in which case the MOA or MOU must detail the process for sharing that data.

2. Providing Sustained Case Planning/Management in the Community. Reentry programs should ideally begin when the individual is first incarcerated and continue when the individual is released to the community. Individuals, post-incarceration, are at the highest risk of re-arrest during the first few months after release, and therefore services should be most intensive during that period. Applicants are strongly urged, and may use grant funding, to provide pre- and post-release case management that is sustained over a period of at least 6 months post-release.

3. Supporting a Comprehensive Range of Services. Although individuals reentering the community have a variety of needs, applicants are encouraged to structure programs to address criminogenic needs—the characteristics most closely associated with the likelihood for future offending behavior—which can be identified through an assessment. Applicants are strongly urged to provide treatment interventions that target criminal thinking, especially for higher risk individuals, and provide training for staff in utilizing cognitive-behavioral interventions and strategies. Based on an individual’s risk/needs assessment, applicants may use grant funding to make available a comprehensive range of programs and a process for addressing the needs of each individual returning from incarceration including the following:

-Treatment services that employ the cognitive, behavioral, and social learning techniques of modeling, role playing, reinforcement, resource provision, and cognitive restructuring.
-Substance abuse treatment (including alcohol abuse).
-Educational, literacy, and vocational training; job readiness; and job placement services.
-Housing and homelessness support services, including permanent supportive housing.
-Medical and mental health care services, including facilitating enrollment in health care plans.
-Facilitating obtaining locally issued identification cards and other proof of identity.
-Veteran-specific services, as applicable.
-Culturally-based programming.
-Programs that encourage safe, healthy, and responsible family and parent-child relationships and enhance family reunification, as appropriate.
-Gender-responsive and trauma-informed services.

Applicants may choose to focus their reentry program around one or more of these areas based on their competencies and expertise, while partnering with other agencies or programs to address other identified needs.

4. Providing Pre- and/or Post-release Mentoring. Mentoring can provide pro-social benefits that are perhaps most evident with peer mentoring, in which participants are paired with individuals with similar experiences in the criminal justice system. Trained mentors can support the individuals’ preparations for release and help link them to programs and services in the community that address their identified needs. In addition, mentors provide emotional support and encouragement to individuals returning from incarceration, hold them accountable throughout the treatment process, and play active roles in promoting positive behavioral changes. If mentoring is a component of the proposed program, applicants should:

-Describe a standardized plan for recruiting, training, monitoring, supporting, and retaining mentors.
-Include the eligibility requirements for mentors, the number of mentors who will be recruited, a timeline for recruiting mentors, how the program will cultivate a diverse pool of mentors for the target population, and list the community partners the applicant will engage in recruiting mentors.
-Define the roles of mentors in relation to the rest of the reentry program staff (case managers, coaches, etc.), including the timeframe for the mentoring relationship.
-Describe the mentoring model, including whether mentor matches are one-on-one, group mentoring (one mentor to a group of participants), team mentoring (multiple mentors to a limited number of participants), or a combination of models.
-Describe how mentors and participants will be matched.
-Explain how peer mentors will be incorporated.
-Specify if and how mentors will be compensated (either as employees or through stipends).
-Describe the initial and ongoing training mentors will receive to better equip them to support the target population.

Additionally, if incorporating mentoring, programs should consider measuring how mentoring impacts engagement in other reentry services and improves reentry outcomes such as family engagement and employment.

5. Supporting Job Readiness and Employability. Funds can be used to support strategies and programs designed to improve the employability of individuals returning to the community by facilitating placement in wage-paid work, job readiness and skills training, and supportive services to help individuals facing barriers to employment succeed in the workforce. Please note subsidizing or paying the wages of participants is not an allowable use.

Resource Note: Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies: Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Job Readiness. This resource was developed to assist policymakers, system administrators, and practitioners collaboratively determine whether resources are focused on the right people, with the right interventions, at the right time. It provides guidance on integrating reentry and employment strategies using a resource-allocation and service matching tool.

6. Increasing Access to Health Benefits. Develop and implement strategies to identify and enroll eligible, uninsured program participants in Medicaid, Social Security, Veterans Benefits or other insurance, and to connect them to treatment providers, as appropriate. Plan and strategize for how expanded options for access to healthcare can enhance outcomes for individuals returning home from incarceration.

7. Providing Staff Training, Coaching, and Performance Evaluations on Adopted Evidence-based Practices and Working with Reentry Populations. Implemented reentry programs should provide adequate staff training and coaching to appropriately use cognitive-behavioral interventions and strategies on the utilization of evidence-based programs and practices. Staff performance evaluations should contain items that reflect an expectation of fidelity to an evidence-based practice. Additionally, staff should be trained and evaluated on their competency to serve diverse populations and understand reentry barriers

8. Resources to Support Civil Legal Aid. It is allowable to use funds under this program to provide assistance and coordination to support successful reintegration through limited legal advice an referral. Such guidance and coordination may include the following areas: securing a driver’s license; expunging or limiting access to criminal records; creating and/or modifying child support orders; family services that help stabilize individuals and families; finding and maintaining adequate housing; finding and maintaining employment; and corrections to reports that fall under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Please note, direct representation in litigation, through court filings or through other litigation services, is not an allowable cost under FY 2018 funding.

9. Develop or Enhance an Existing Data System. A data system should capture information that assists with tracking key indicators of staff, program, and individual progress. This data should be used to identify successes and areas of improvement to address barriers to staff, program, or individual progress.

Evidence-based Programs or Practices:

OJP strongly emphasizes the use of data and evidence in policy making and program development in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services. OJP is committed to:
-Improving the quantity and quality of evidence OJP generates.
-Integrating evidence into program, practice, and policy decisions within OJP and the field.
-Improving the translation of evidence into practice.

OJP considers programs and practices to be evidence-based when their effectiveness has been demonstrated by causal evidence, generally obtained through one or more outcome evaluations. Causal evidence documents a relationship between an activity or intervention (including technology) and its intended outcome, including measuring the direction and size of a change, and the extent to which a change may be attributed to the activity or intervention. Causal evidence depends on the use of scientific methods to rule out, to the extent possible, alternative explanations for the documented change. The strength of causal evidence, based on the factors described above, will influence the degree to which OJP considers a program or practice to be evidence-based.

The OJP website at is one resource that applicants may use to find information about evidence-based programs in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services.

Information Regarding Potential Evaluation of Programs and Activities:

The Department of Justice has prioritized the use of evidence-based programming and deems it critical to continue to build and expand the evidence informing criminal and juvenile justice programs to reach the highest level of rigor possible. Therefore, applicants should note that the Office of Justice Programs may conduct or support an evaluation of the programs and activities funded under this solicitation. Recipients and sub-recipients will be expected to cooperate with program-related assessments or evaluation efforts, including through the collection and provision of information or data requested by OJP (or its designee) for the assessment or evaluation of any activities and/or outcomes of those activities funded under this solicitation. The information or data requested may be in addition to any other financial or performance data already required under this program.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 154960

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

There will be up to eight Category 1 awards and up to four Category 2 awards.

Estimated Size of Grant:

-Category 1: Up to $1,000,000 each
-Category 2: Up to $500,000 each

Term of Contract:

BJA expects to make awards for a 36-month period of performance to begin on or about October 1, 2018.

BJA may, in certain cases, provide additional funding in future years to awards made under this solicitation, through continuation awards. In making decisions regarding continuation awards, OJP will consider, among other factors, the availability of appropriations, when the program or project was last competed, OJP’s strategic priorities, and OJP’s assessment of both the management of the award (for example, timeliness and quality of progress reports), and the progress of the work funded under the award.


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants are limited to nonprofit organizations (including tribal nonprofit organizations) with a documented history of providing comprehensive, evidence-based reentry services, and federally recognized Indian tribes (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior).

All recipients and subrecipients (including any for-profit organization) must forgo any profit or management fee.

BJA welcomes applications under which two or more entities would carry out the federal award; however, only one entity may be the applicant. Any others must be proposed as subrecipients (subgrantees). The applicant must be the entity that would have primary responsibility for carrying out the award, including administering the funding and managing the entire program. Under this solicitation, only one application by any particular applicant entity will be considered. An entity may, however, be proposed as a subrecipient (subgrantee) in more than one application.

In addition to the unallowable costs identified in the DOJ Grants Financial Guide, award funds may not be used for the following:
-Prizes/rewards/entertainment/trinkets (or any type of monetary incentive)
-Client stipends
-Gift cards
-Food and beverage

Pre-proposal Conference:

Webinar: Responding to the 2018 Second Chance Act Comprehensive Community-Based Adult Reentry Grant Program Solicitation (Webinar)
Date: 4/4/2018, 2:00 - 3:30 PM ET
Location: Online

During this webinar, representatives from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Reentry Resource Center will review the Comprehensive Community-Based Adult Reentry grant program and application process.

Webinar Date and Time:

More information about the webinar may be found here:

Register to Attend:

Pre-Application Information:

Total Funding:
-Category 1: Estimated total amount awarded of up to $8,000,000.
-Category 2: Estimated total amount awarded of up to $2,000,000.

Applicants must acquire a unique entity identifier (currently, a DUNS number). Obtaining a DUNS number is a free, one-time activity. A DUNS number is usually received within 1-2 business days.

Applicants must acquire or maintain registration with SAM. Each applicant must update or renew its SAM registration at least annually to maintain an active status. SAM registration and renewal can take as long as 10 business days to complete (2 more weeks to acquire an EIN).

Applicants must register with prior to submitting an application.

An application cannot be successfully submitted in until receives the SAM registration information. Once the SAM registration/renewal is complete, the information transfer from SAM to can take as long as 48 hours. OJP recommends that the applicant register or renew registration with SAM as early as possible.

All applications are due by 11:59 PM eastern time on May 1, 2018.

To be considered timely, an application must be submitted by the application deadline using, and the applicant must have received a validation message from that indicates successful and timely submission.

OJP urges applicants to submit applications at least 72 hours prior to the application due date, to allow time for the applicant to receive validation messages or rejection notifications from, and to correct in a timely fashion any problems that may have caused a rejection notification.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs. Customer Support Hotline:
Phone: 800-518-4726 / 606-545-5035

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Response Center:
Toll-free: 1-800-851-3420
TTY: 301-240-6310 (hearing impaired only)
Fax: 301-240-5830
Web Chat:

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URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming