The Dean of Christchurch Cathedral has said that direct provision is the "greatest issue of our time".
The Very Reverend Dermot Dunne said that asylum seekers are "not aliens" and need to be embraced instead of isolated.
He added they must be given the dignity of being allowed to work and be integrated into the community.
The Dean was speaking at the launch of the Our Table café at Christchurch Cathedral.
The public food kiosk, which will operate in the grounds of the cathedral for the next five weeks, is organised and run by people living in direct provision.
Reverend Dunne said the café allows asylum seekers to both work and prepare food which is something he said they are "deprived of" doing.
He said he hoped the initiative would send a message to policymakers that being able to work and cook was a basic human need.
Our Table organiser Ellie Kisyombe, who has been living in direct provision for eight years, said breaking bread together is a way of connecting with people and that this initiative allows people living in direct provision to do that.
She said being able to work and cook is mental therapy and freedom for people and helps them to better integrate.
The Dean of Christchurch Cathedral says Direct Provision is the "greatest issue of our time" that aslyum seekers are "not aliens" and need to be embraced instead of isolated and calls for them to be allowed to work at the launch of #ourtable cafe in cathedral grounds @rtenews pic.twitter.com/sAJwFRbBxY— Samantha Libreri (@SamanthaLibreri) February 17, 2018