• Welfare Dept. director will look for other sources of funding
BROOKINGS – Brookings County’s Welfare Department will not be giving interest-free loans to people who are about to default on their mortgage, county commissioners decided Tuesday.
When asked Sept. 4 to approve two loans for mortgage payments, the commission postponed a decision until they could think through the matter and speak with Veterans/Human Services Director Mike Holzhauser.
They said they did not remember the Welfare Department ever loaning money for past-due mortgage payments, only for necessities like rent if the person would be without a place to live, utilities, dental work, hospital care and burial.
Holzhauser spoke with commissioners Deanna Santema, Al Gregg and Dennis Falken on Tuesday about the proposed loans.
He said county residents have asked for aid with mortgage payments before, but the Welfare Department has probably used other programs to help them rather than the loan program. He said the county wants to help these applicants avoid foreclosure on their homes, but he could look for alternate funding for them.
According to meeting minutes, Falken said that he doesn’t think the county should get involved with making mortgage payments. He said the lending institutions took the risk when they made these loans, and repayment should be left between them and the homeowners.
Gregg said he received a lot of public input and also thinks the commission should not start making mortgage payments. He said these homeowners should look for alternate funding.
Santema said that it seems the public consensus and the board consensus is to not approve these types of welfare payments. She said she hopes the Welfare Department can find help for these people, but they need to leave this between the lender and the homeowner.
Holzhauser said he can accept the board’s decision and understands that the lending institution agreed to take this risk.