The Knox Metropolitan United Church is the second building in downtown Regina that has been barricaded.
Barbara Shourounis, from the Knox Metropolitan Secretary of trustees, said the idea to put up the fence came after a concern about small fires.
“We’ve been experiencing fires on the church property over the summer,” she said. “We’ve had four fires beginning in June, and the last two were in the last two weeks.”
Shourounis said the board of trustees has a legal duty to protect the property so they felt they needed to take protective steps by erecting the temporary fencing.
She said the trustees and the board are both meeting to make some recommendations for the longer-term solution.
“I hope that the people who are homeless are given more social supports, so they don’t have to sleep on our front step. That’s the big picture,” said Shourounis. “From the church’s perspective, we have to go through a discernment process of trying to figure out the balance between protecting the property and helping the people that need help.”
A known houselessness advocate in Regina has reached out to the Knox Metropolitan United Church to see if there are any alternative routes to better serve the community but has yet to receive a response.
“It’s very disheartening to see the fence put up by the church,” stated Shylo Stevenson, in a statement. “I hope this was just an error in judgement and that the administration of the Knox Metropolitan church will take the lock off, take down the fence, and open the doors to the community, not push them away.”
Stevenson, who also goes by Northwind Standing, is known for his work and advocacy in the homelessness community. Stevenson said a fence is not the solution.
Global News contacted Regina Fire regarding the small fires near the Knox Metropolitan United Church but did not receive a response in time of deadline.