September 7, 2001
Contacts: Rep. Michael P. Kahikina
Phone: 586-8465


Lawmakers will also examine the Section 8 rental assistance program

The chairman of the House Committee on Human Services & Housing anticipates that federal agencies will seek responses to Legislative Auditor Marion Higa's financial audit of the State's Med Quest Division, which administers the State's health insurance program. As a result, committee chair Rep. Michael P. Kahikina has scheduled a briefing to address the issue on Tuesday, September 11, in State Capitol Conference Room 329 beginning at 1 p.m.

"The auditor's report raised some important questions and I believe it's the Legislature's duty to ask those questions first," Kahikina said. "It's important that as a State, we respond accurately and comprehensively to the U.S. Department of Human Services."

Hawaii receives federal assistance on a matching basis to run the programs, Kahikina said, and that this is an accountability issue. He said the federal agencies are expected in Hawaii the week of September 17.

Kahikina said the committee will also use the opportunity to get an update on the Section 8 rental assistance program which helps low-income families meet their monthly rents. Based on anecdotal information, Kahikina said there is a significant population out there that need the assistance but has not been connected to the resources available in the State and counties.

"If the Legislature can play a legitimate role in making the program more effective, then we need to hear it," Kahikina said.

In addition to Kahikina, members of the House Human Services & Housing Committee include representatives Bertha Kawakami, vice chair, Dennis Arakaki, Emily Auwae, Bob McDermott, Bud Stonebraker, K. Mark Takai, and Nobu Yonamine.