Donna Bennett, CEO

Donna Bennett, CEO

Donna Bennett has in excess of 25 years experience managing and delivering transitional, outreach and crisis accommodation services to young people including families and she has made a significant contribution in the Homelessness Sector via capacity building, community development and systems development.

Donna has established leadership and strategic development skills and has been CEO of Hope Street since 2000.

In 2015 she was nominated for the 2015 Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards, in the category of Excellence in ending homelessness among young people, recognising her continued and tireless work, over the last 15 years at Hope Street. Donna has ensured that the voice of at risk and disadvantaged young people is represented and heard at local, state and national levels within the community, through grassroots engagement of young people and their families, and in her advocacy as an executive officer to local and federal members of parliament and departmental ministers.

As the leader of a community organisation, Donna's enthusiasm and energy inspires Hope Street staff in their ongoing pursuit to empower vulnerable young people to overcome early life disadvantages and achieve their desired goals. She supports and encourages staff to focus on delivering high quality programs that meet the shifting needs of at risk young people, their families and the community, ensuring that the organisation continues to be a proud leader in the field of youth homelessness.

Donna dedicates herself daily to creating opportunites and improving systems that are aimed at ending youth homelessness. She is a well-respected, long-established and active participant of the sector and is widely recognised for her unwavering commitment to bringing about social change:

Young people who access our services receive an individually designed wrap around response that includes immediate, short-term and long-term goals. Our approaches are centred on early intervention and prevention and focus on all aspects of each young person’s life. Young people determine and drive the achievement of their goals.

I have seen hundreds of young people blossom and make significant meaningful changes in their lives.

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Who We Are

  • Riette Veldsman, People and Culture Advisor
    Executive Leadership
    Riette Veldsman joined Hope Street in the role of People and Culture Advisor in August 2018.  Riette has worked in Human Resources in the disability services sector for over seven years.

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    Brendan Pearl, Homeless Youth Dial Diagnosis Practitioner
    Program Teams
    My role in the Homeless Youth Dual Diagnosis Initiative (HYDDI) is a partnership between Hope Street Youth and Family Services and the Substance Use and Mental Illness Treatment Team (SUMITT) of NorthWestern Mental Health.

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    Donna Bennett, CEO
    Executive Leadership
    Donna Bennett has in excess of 25 years experience managing and delivering transitional, outreach and crisis accommodation services to young people including families and she has made a significant contribution in the Homelessness Sector via capacity building, community development and systems development. Donna has established leadership and strategic development skills and has been C...

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    JS, Case Manager
    Program Teams
    I have a Masters in Social Work and Bachelor in Hospitality and Tourism. I work with young people who have experienced homelessness and support them to live independently in a safe environment.

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  • Lyn Seeley, Acting Operations Manager
    Executive Leadership
    Lyn Seeley has extensive experience in youth and mental health specialist services in the homelessness and mental health sectors.  Lyn has also been in senior management positions with her most recent position as Area Manager for Mind Australia.

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    Melissa De Santis, Community Engagement Officer
    Program Teams
    I am described as a compassionate, empathetic person with a passion for social justice. I have completed a degree in Community Development with Psychology and Sociology as my majors. I have a strong interest in Indigenous Australian understanding, politics and family violence. I have been working at Hope Street across a number of different programs, including as a Case Manager, and I am currently...

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    KM, Community Integration Facilitator
    Program Teams
    My role at Hope Street is to help homeless, or at risk of homelessness, young adults find and maintain a Private Rental property. I have a Bcs / Hons degree in Public Health and Nutrition and a Cert of Higher Education in Health Science.

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    Norman Vella, Programs Manager (North West)
    Program Leadership
    Norman Vella has worked in the homelessness sector for over 8 years.  He has been an Advanced Skills Practitioner in the Alcohol and Other Drugs field and in high risk residential care for over 15 years. Norman holds a Bachelor’s degree in Youth Work and various other qualifications including but not limited to: Diploma Child Psychology, Diploma Alcohol and Other Drugs, Trauma based practice, and...

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  • Ulrike Read, Financial Manager
    Executive Leadership
    Ulrike Read commenced at Hope Street in the role of Financial Manager in January 2019. Ulrike comes to Hope Street with more than 20 years' executive management, finance and operations experience working with large corporate and small not-for-profit organisations.

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    Olivia Myeza, Business Development and Partnerships Manager
    Executive Leadership
    Olivia Myeza joined the Hope Street team in the role of Business Development and Partnerships Manager in October 2018. Having grown up in Melbourne and completed a Bachelor of Marketing and Communications at Melbourne University, Olivia started her career off in the corporate public relations sector.

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    Geetha Chetty, Programs Manager (North East)
    Program Leadership
    Geetha Chetty commenced at Hope Street in April 2019 and has over 10 years of management experience, spending the last five years in working in the youth and family sector with Anglicare Victoria, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Stepping-Up Consortium. Geetha has most recently worked at Ravenhall Correctional Centre as a Community Reintegration Manager where she provided clinical leadership to hel...

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