Man camping on church property allowed to stay while Anglican Diocese of Niagara works to find him safe shelter


The Anglican Diocese of Niagara will not remove a man in need who is living in a tent on its property as they try to find solutions to house him.

The man has taken up residency at Grace Anglican Church on Geneva Street in St. Catharines.

The man, who did not want his name used, said living in the back lot of the church is not something he wishes to do, rather something he must do, because of circumstances in his life that left him homeless.

The man, who said he is 29 years old and from St. Catharines, has been experiencing homelessness since April when he said he was evicted from the room he was renting.

For the past six weeks, he has stayed in a tent behind the church, trying to go unnoticed, while attempting to find solutions to get off the streets before winter.

It is not the intention of the church, at this time, to remove him, as he needs a safe place and support during this time in his life, said Bill Mous, archdeacon and executive officer with the Anglican Diocese of Niagara.

“We’re striving to uphold their dignity,” he said.

Mous said the church is working with the man to find solutions to house him.

“With the colder weather coming, we will renew efforts and are hopeful he will be open to connecting with some of the community and shelter resources available for folks in the city,” he said.

“In the meantime, our property manager is trying to keep the property clean and safe, while we work through the other supports and strive to care for the person living on the property.”

Mous said concerns from neighbours have been heard, and he understands the situation on the property might seem odd, but he assured neighbours the diocese is doing everything to help remedy situation. In the meantime, doing its Christian duty to aid the man is something the diocese feels is right.

“We know this is a concern for our neighbours, at the same time, love of our neighbour is what we’re called to do as Christians, and the person living at the church is our neighbour,” he said.


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