The people who actively seek out the Soup Kitchen are from various backgrounds and may fall into the categories:
- People suffering from social isolation
- People suffering from abusive family backgrounds
- People with problems of addiction.
- People suffering a range of mental illnesses.
- People of indigenous backgrounds who have lost their social identity.
- People who for various reasons are homeless and living in parks and under bridges etc.
People who are suffering from social isolation often do not look after their health and may suffer from diseases and medical conditions that could be addressed easily with a little care and attention. Many of these folk are attracted to the Soup Kitchen and benefit from the companionship provided.
People coming in for meals are asked to make a small donation of $1.00 for a cooked lunch, take-away sandwiches for their evening meal and a bottomless cup of tea or coffee during opening hours.
What is Homelessness
People are considered homeless when they do not have the accommodation that is safe, secure, appropriate and affordable.
Like most places, the homeless population in Lismore includes people who suddenly become homeless, as well as people who have been homeless for some time. Those who suddenly become homeless are often in some form of crisis because they do not have the plans and/or the means of where they can go. Other people experience homelessness as a way of life; that is, they are chronically homeless, sleeping in public places regularly or unable to move beyond emergency hostel type accommodation.
This differentiation is important. Without it, homeless people tend to be seen as an homogeneous group whose situation can be addressed by simple solutions. However, the needs of homeless people are as diverse as the causes of homelessness. Stemming from family breakdown, and loss of original community support, other causes of homelessness include poverty, housing difficulties, unemployment, gambling, health issues such as mental health problems and substance abuse, social dislocation and domestic violence. Typically, these problems do not operate in a discrete fashion but reinforce and compound each other.