Our People

Donna

Donna Stolzenberg is the founder and director of Melbourne Homeless Collective (MHC); a dynamic, not-for-profit organisation that oversees the operations of Melbourne Period Project, The School Project and Blanket Melbourne.

Beginning in 2015, what set MHC apart from many similar organisations was Donna’s lived-experience with overcoming hardship and disadvantage though homelessness.

Donna is the mother of five sons, and derives her inspiration from her youngest, who lives with autism. Donna’s cultural background as a member of the Ngajtumay and Mirning people people connects her to the systematic issues encountered by Indigenous Australians who are over represented in homelessness statistics.

She has had extensive experience assisting people with complex and multi-faceted barriers to employment. Through her work with the Australian federal government, she coordinated programs which assisted people to successfully re-enter the workforce.

Despite all of this, Donna still provides her time on a volunteer basis; directing all funding into the charities which are all completely donations run.

The largest charity of MHC is the Melbourne Period Project (MPP), which now spans across three states and many country towns in Victoria. Period Project provides support, menstruation products and essential living items to women and trans men experiencing homelessness and displacement.

MPP operates from a volunteer run warehouse in Port Melbourne, where the charity also co-ordinate their work-for-dole program for at-risk and long-term unemployed women. The women assist in assembling MPP’s famous ‘period packs’ that are distributed to agencies across Australia. The period packs come in six different styles, to cover the various types of homeless periods.

The School Project (TSP) was launched in 2017 and addresses the overwhelming and growing shortfalls families with school children face when leaving dangerous domestic violence situations. Affected families often find themselves living in crisis accommodation, like motels or cars, without access to school items, preventing children from returning to their education. TSP collects and distributes brand new school equipment, uniforms and essentials to those kids who need it most.
Every winter, MHC coordinates Blanket Melbourne by collecting and distributing thousands of brand new blankets and sleeping bags to Melbourne’s increasingly growing homeless population.

Recently, the organisation has taken on the role of educators by providing ‘lunch and learn’ sessions to corporate organisations and universities. Through discussing the history of MHC, Donna also addresses and dispels the myths of homelessness and provides education about how everyday people can assist the most vulnerable people in their society.

The core goals of all of Donna’s organisations are to ensure those who access the services of MHC are provided with understanding, appropriate support and items they need to restore their feelings of personal wellbeing, dignity and everyday health and hygiene.