A Winnipeg church is struggling to cope with residents of a growing tent community that recently sprung up on its doorstep.

The All Saints’ Anglican Church’s downtown lot has become home to a number of homeless people who have recently erected makeshift shelters there.

“In the last three weeks, we've seen a huge increase in people,” Reverend Brent Neumann told CTV Winnipeg on Tuesday. “We're not sure how to respond.”

Neumann said “substantial” damage has been done to the church’s property, and his parishioners are greeted with needles when they arrive on Sundays.

Some people, who are staying in the camp and were interviewed by CTV Winnipeg, cited addiction issues and a lack of affordable housing among their reasons for settling near the church.

Neumann said, while the property damage and debris are concerning, he also worries about what will happen if he forces the people to leave.

“I’ve had people tell me, one woman, (that) it’s the only place she feels safe to sleep at night,” he said. “That’s a really difficult thing, to say get lost. Then what am I doing? Putting her at risk out on the street.”

With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Josh Crabb