Earlier this month Immigration Minister Scott Morrison re-introduced a limit to the number of protection visas to be allocated before the end of June.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says five years ago, the food kitchen in West Melbourne made under 100 lunches daily.
Now it feeds up to 190 asylum seekers a day.
The Centre’s Director of Aid, Patrick Lawrence, says over 20,000 asylum seekers in Australia live below the poverty line.
“What we find is that asylum seekers are often in a far worse situation than any other person in the Australian community,” he said.
“There are asylum seekers we support here who have literally no income. No money from the government no work rights no job they have no income.”
Mr Lawrence says 75 per cent of patrons of the Centre are on bridging visas with no right to work.
The Centre is launching a campaign to fund a mobile food market to reach thousands in the community in need of affordable food, as many are unable to survive on the government allowance of just over $200 a week.
“You can imagine after looking after your accommodation, paying your bills, we find anecdotally that most asylum seekers have about $20 a week for food and that is clearly not enough,” Mr Lawrence said.
The Immigration Minister’s office says the government provides six weeks’ intensive transitional support, as did the previous government.
But a spokeswoman says the Coalition inherited more than 33,000 unresolved asylum cases and Labor’s ongoing opposition to temporary protection visas is providing an obstacle to bringing that number down.
Vice President of the Australian Association of Social Workers, Christine Craik says the re-introduction of temporary protection visas is not the way forward.
“On those visas people were second class citizens as well and it was developing an underclass amongst our newer Australians,” she said.
“It should be an either or, we really need to get together and have an intelligent debate around this to find a way forward”.