BISMARCK, ND – More than 55 years after she began working for the State of North Dakota, Delores Hummel is ready for retirement. Not only is she one of the state’s longest-serving employees, she’s also had a front-row seat for the roll-out of several significant government programs.
In 1963, one day after graduating from Bismarck High School, Hummel began working at the Public Welfare Board, the state agency now known as the Department of Human Services (DHS), for the Old Age Assistance Program where she processed reimbursement claims submitted by the counties.
“When I started at DHS, everything was merit-based,” said Hummel. “I took a test a couple weeks before I graduated from high school, received a notice in the mail that I’d passed and, when I called, I was offered a position as a clerk.”
A couple years later, after Title XIX of the Social Security Act established Medicaid, Hummel was transferred to a newly created division, Medical Services. She was one of the three employees who worked to establish the medical assistance program in North Dakota. DHS’s Medical Services Division now employs 49 people.
“Later, I was assigned as a committee clerk for the peer review committees that established guidelines for physicians, pharmacists, dentists, hospitals and nursing homes in implementing Medicaid provisions in their respective practices,” said Hummel. “It was probably my favorite position, something I really enjoyed.”
Hummel’s career turned toward housing in 1973, when she moved within DHS to work on an Experimental Housing Allowance Project. North Dakota was one of a handful of states to pilot the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program. What began in only four counties – Burleigh, Cass, Stark and Stutsman – went statewide as the Section 8 Housing Assistance Program (HAP).
In 1980, an initiated measure established a housing finance program within the North Dakota Industrial Commission to provide affordable financing for first-time homebuyers. The commission directed the Bank of North Dakota to act as the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) and later directed the bank to administer the HAP program as well. Two years later, NDHFA broke away from the bank and Hummel stayed on to manage the newly formed agency’s administrative needs. For the final 36 years of her career, she has remained in that capacity, acting as NDHFA’s business manager.
During Hummel’s 55 years with the state, there were eight different governors – William Guy, Arthur Link, Allen Olson, George Sinner, Ed Schafer, John Hoeven, Jack Dalrymple and Doug Burgum. She didn’t anticipate this run. Nonetheless, she has this to say about the experience, “Each of the positions I held were challenging and interesting. It truly provided me with a very rewarding career.”
NDHFA will host an open house to honor Hummel on July 3, 2018, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. The event will take place at the agency’s Bismarck office, 2624 Vermont Avenue.
NDHFA is a self-supporting state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. The Industrial Commission of North Dakota, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees the agency.