Hawaiian Home Loan Program; Health Task Force

By Rowena Akana
January 2002

Source Ka Wai Ola o OHA

OHA’s Home Loan Program for Hawaiian Home Lands has been successful since 1993 when OHA granted DHHL $20 million for renovations and down payments for its homesteaders. As the program’s committee chair, I hope to broaden this home loan program to include more Hawaiians, especially those not on Hawaiian Homestead lands. In order to accomplish this, OHA needs to leverage its financial resources by partnering with other lending institutions. To that end, I have been meeting with possible lenders and most recently in talks with FANNIE MAE in Washington, D.C. and in the western region in California. Talks have been fruitful and I hope that by mid-April or May, OHA will have a home loan program that all Hawaiians in the community can participate in.

Most Hawaiians do not have access to financing through the “conventional” lending system. There is a need to provide home loans to Native Hawaiians. If OHA merely lent its own monies and collected on the loans, the limited funding would not allow OHA to make very many loans. However, with FANNIE MAE and other lenders’ participation, we can leverage those monies and provide for many loans from our initial capital investment. If processed in this manner, OHA can provide for many more loans from its initial capital investment. In the end, if these agreements with the banks and FANNIE MAE are successful, OHA can provide more loans to more people and allow OHA monies to revolve.

I look forward to progressing with this loan program so more Hawaiians who do not live on homestead lands can purchase homes. My hope is to accomplish this goal. If you support this concept, drop me a line or call me at 594-1860. I will keep you informed as to its progress.

On another exciting note, the Native Hawaiian Health Task Force has been reactivated by the Programs Committee when I was chair. Health has always been one of the key issues cited by our communities as a pressing need for Hawaiians. One of the outcomes of the past task force meetings was a report which found that the most effective use of our monies would be in an outreach program to help kupuna enroll in supplemental health coverage plans. We cannot overlook the health requirements of our neediest Hawaiians – our kupuna. I will continue to work with the medical field through the task force on health issues for Hawaiians. OHA will soon be hiring a full-time health person to assume the task of assisting the Native Hawaiian Health Task Force in supplementing health coverage for the kupuna, as well as using our monies and resources to address some of the health needs of our Hawaiian communities. I will keep you posted on the activities of the Native Hawaiian Health Task Force and Hawaiian health issues.

I am grateful to the following Task Force members who so willingly gave of their time and mana’o to serve: Dr. Charmin Akina, Waimanalo Health Center; Dr. Naleen Andrade, U.H.; Gladys Brandt, Stephen Chong, St. Francis Health; Beadie Dawson, Attorney; Professor Noreen Mokuau; Charles Nakoa, QLCC; Sister Beatrice Tom; Dr. Benjamin Young, Native Hawaiian School of Medicine; Richard Jackson, Queen’s Health System; Na’u Kamali’i and Hardy Spoehr, Papa Ola Lokahi; Mary Rydell, Center for Medicaid and Medicare; Claire Hughes and Kirk Lange, Department of Health; Pi’ilani Pang, HMSA Uninsured Project; Thomas Au and Kim Birnie, Kauka Hui; and Beth Geisting, Primary Care Association.

“Save your people and bless their inheritance, O Lord be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Psalms 28:9.