The realtor trying to sell the property which once housed the Victorious Living Centre Emergency Shelter says the City of Owen Sound should have acted faster to enforce bylaws to take down a tent city.
Dennis Herman of Remax Grey Bruce Realty has the listing for 748 2nd Avenue East in the city's downtown and says protesters have been allowed to make camp there for too long.
"If these homeless people set up anywhere else in the city they would be arrested," says Herman, adding "The mayor, councillors, city managers, bylaw, everybody -- they're spineless. If I did this I'd be arrested. Gone to jail."
Herman claims the city told him it was a "sensitive matter."
"Is it not a sensitive matter for the people that are paying the taxes? The business people?"
He says city officials and staff are treating the present tax payer and mortgage holder like a second class citizen.
Herman maintains a court order was issued for eviction and the court Sherriff followed through after proper postings.
He says the changing of the locks took place two weeks ago yesterday but adds the city, "Continues to allow the homeless people to parade in front of the building with posters."
Herman says the mortgage holder is almost 89 and just lost his brother, noting he would like his money and they are trying to sell it.
He notes the initial mortgage was a two year term (at a 14 per cent interest rate, which has since dropped) and was expected to have been paid off but it went on for roughly 8.5 more years.
Herman says the media has referred to the mortgage situation as a dispute, "There is no dispute, says Herman adding, "The courts themselves have granted a default and a court order evicting the present owner."
He says the bills keep climbing, "It's my job to try to get this sold so the expenses don't keep going up, but the city keeps getting their taxes. They keep getting their taxes but they are doing nothing to solve the problem."
"Basically, there is no shelter in Grey and Bruce Counties," says Herman, who admits the YMCA can arrange some emergency housing, and other organizations can help in other ways, but there's no conventional shelter.
He hopes the area will get help from a new program announced by the federal liberals called Reaching Home which promises to give cities $2.1 billion over 10 years to put towards reducing homelessness.
"There should be a spot for these people," says Herman.