By Irena Ceranic | ABC.net.au
Manna is run mainly by volunteers and distributes meals six days a week at Weld Square, on Beaufort Street in Northbridge.
But nearby residents and business owners claim the service is attracting troublemakers, and there has been a surge in violence and drunkenness in the area.
Brayden Wardrop has lived in an apartment opposite Weld Square for two-and-a-half years.
He told the ABC there had been an escalation in violent incidents in the past few months.
“Just a few weeks ago there was an attempted stabbing,” he said.
“Apart from that there’s been a lot of physical and verbal threats of people walking through the park.
“People I know have been punched in the head.”
Several business owners have similar concerns.
The owner of a nearby restaurant recently told a council meeting he had been assaulted twice, and on another occasion a person who had been stabbed at the park ran in looking for help.
Manna provides up to 250 meals a day and receives no government funding.
Its founders, Bev and John Lowe, said they understood the concerns of residents and businesses, but had asked them to show more compassion.
“Ninety-four per cent of those who come to the park have mental health issues,” Mrs Lowe said.
“So you’re going to have some aggros sometimes, but the majority of people are very, very grateful and very happy that we’re here, because there is no other choice.”
Mrs Lowe said witnessing homelessness is the inevitable reality of inner-city living.
“I think it’s easy, an easy thing to hang a hat on, that this is the reason why there is problems in the park,” she said.
Two years ago the City of Vincent voted to relocate the food truck, but it has not been able to find a suitable new home.
Mayor John Carey said simply pushing it on to another park was not the solution.
“We as a city have been looking at different options about where could we house such a service that provides security, or tries to address some of the concerns in the area, but also provides dignity to the people receiving the food in a hot summer and very cold winter,” he said.
The council is working with Manna to find a new home by the end of the year.