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Owen Sound is not alone regarding the housing crisis in Ontario. One aspect that never seems to be considered is the role ‘Places of Worship’ play in this.

All religious institutions in the province enjoy a tax free exemption at all levels of government and have done so for over a century. What ever happened to “render unto Caesar"? At the municipal level, consider the millions of dollars in revenue lost over the years, all subsidized by local property tax payers, believers and non-believers alike.

With twenty six ‘Places of Worship’ in Owen Sound, that’s one facility for approximately 850 residents!

The majority of these properties, most established long past, are located on prime real estate lands: e.g. ‘Salvation Corners’. Would it be too much to ask that these institutions open their doors to ease the current crisis, a kind of ‘pay back time’?

The buildings mostly remain empty during the week as does the surrounding land in park settings and with space for parking. Surely some utilization of the above could be taken into account in assisting in housing the homeless. Buildings used as shelter, warming and washroom access. Surrounding lands at least for temporary shelter.

I’m aware that the taxation of ‘Places of Worship’ is beyond the local government, however, heaven forbid that a request be put forward that they take on a more compassionate role.

Of course, as always, the devil is in the details!

Frank Barningham, Owen Sound




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