Manna homeless meals to continue at Weld Square

MANNA Inc will continue to provide meals to the homeless at Weld Square for at least the next 12 months.

The City of Vincent approved the organisation’s use of the park until December next year, after Manna Inc trialled earlier operating hours to reduce anti-social behaviour.

The operating times have been changed from 5pm until 6pm, to 1.30pm until 2.30pm six days a week.

Manna Inc chief executive Nicki McKenzie thanked the City for working with the organisation at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Ms McKenzie said their client numbers at Weld Square, where they have operated since 2008, fluctuated between 60 and 250.

The council also waived the $13,104 in fees associated with the use of the park.

Mayor John Carey said the food service was vital for the most vulnerable in the community.

“As mayor, I looked for options for alternate venues for Manna,” he said.

“I do understand where residents are coming from but police have indicated the change to operating hours has been successful. At the moment, we have so many different groups trying to help.”

Mr Carey said he would like to see a more co-ordinated effort from homelessness service providers, with a one-stop referral point for homeless people.

He also noted that among the complaints the council received about anti-social behaviour, many were related to the nearby nightclubs.