cohealth and FareShare: fighting the stigma of homelessness together

A nutritious meal has immediate benefits for Melbourne’s growing community of rough sleepers many of whom suffer serious mental and physical health issues.

cohealth Innerspace in Collingwood supports some of our city’s most marginalised people with FareShare meals which are handed out at the door, in rough sleeper packs and on night outreach runs.

“Clients have told us that we are the only place they have been able to source a meal that week and are incredibly grateful,” says manager Dean Rogut.

“Many clients either are or have been homeless and so do not have cooking facilities or live in accommodation without appropriate
facilities. In some circumstances they just never learnt to cook – homeless for many years, mental health issues, cognitive difficulties.

“They are all under financial stresses. Food prices going up impacts these people more than most. The ones asking for food really need it.”

Dean and the team at cohealth provide a range of harm minimisation services, along with education and a safe space. There is a doctor and nurse on site.

Many clients suffer obvious signs of malnutrition and related issues including recurring infections and diabetes. It’s a community which particularly benefits from a complete, nutritious meal.

“Our clients have a number of physical and mental health issues and having nutritious, healthy food makes a difference to their health,” says Dean.

Equally importantly, receiving a dignified, homestyle meal sends a message. “This makes me feel like a normal person,” is what the clients say according to Dean’s colleague Gee.

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