An Old Church Gets Put to Good Use

St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba wasn’t doing so well a few years ago. The congregation was growing smaller and the church building always needed maintenance work:

St. Matthew’s Anglican Church (Ken Gigliotti – Winnipeg Free Press)

But now, the building has been converted — no pun intended — into the WestEnd Commons, a rental property for low-income families:

Work has begun to reshape St. Matthew’s into WestEnd Commons, a 25-unit housing unit. The rental apartments are intended for families and will range from one to four bedrooms. Tenants will include seniors, people with mental-health issues, new immigrants and First Nations families.

Families must have a combined income of less than $50,000. Manitoba Housing will subsidize 21 of the 25 units. A management company will look after the property.

“What this community needs is housing,” says Clarkson. “There’s quite a bit of bachelor accommodation, rooming houses; that sort of thing.”

The units will have full kitchens, private bathrooms, phone lines and cable. Those details aren’t taken for granted by anyone who lives in low-income housing.

WestEnd Commons is expected to be complete and fully occupied by February 2014.

It’s not just good for those families; it’s good for the city, too:

“Everybody in the city benefits if you bring the housing standard up in any part of the city,” [WEC board member Bob Clarkson] says. “There will be taxes paid on the residential portion of the building. This is about 25 units. It’s about Winnipeg.”

Compared to the alternatives, I’d say the church leaders did something beneficial for the community and genuinely helpful for the future residents. They didn’t just pack up and leave when the money dried out. Good for them.

(Thanks to Dorothy for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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