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'Unfortunate that it has come to this': Regina church fences off property used by homeless

A church in downtown Regina has fenced off its property, blocking access to those who had long sought sanctuary on the front steps. The church says the risk of fire was too great to allow the homeless to remain there.

“It’s unfortunate that it has come to this but we’ve experienced four fires around the church property since June and the Board of Trustees had met. They have decided to protect the property belonging to the church,” Barb Shourounis, board chair for Knox Metropolitan Church said.

It follows a similar decision made by city hall this summer to remove unhoused people tenting on its front lawn. Some people relocated from that encampment to the churchyard.

“It was pretty safe actually so I don’t mind the extra security feature but I’m very grateful for them allowing me to stay there this year myself,” said Anna Peterson, who had lived outside the church.

Some others feel it points to the desperation.

“Imagine sleeping like that underneath the church to feel safe. It must be rough, like people after you or whatnot,” Peterson’s friend Leon Clifford Cummings said.

Not all parishioners agree with the decision to fence off the property.

“You have a city-wide, province-wide housing crisis and affordability crisis and these people, if they had other places to go, they would go to those places,” said Cecilia Rands, who attends the church.

The church doesn’t consider a fence to be the solution to the problem. It believes the community needs to do more to address houselessness and plans to be part of the conversation on how to help. Top Stories

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