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Neil Mitchell: “Great care needed” in handing over $100,000 to homeless ‘trolleyman’

The public fundraiser for the homeless man who lunged at the Bourke Street terrorist with a trolley has tipped over $110,000.

The actions of Michael Rogers have drawn public praise after Friday night’s incident, but criticism from some, including Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton.

Donna Stolzenberg, Founder and Managing Director of National Homeless Collective, who started the fundraiser online told Neil they never set out to raise this much money for Michael.

“We started out trying to get him a new phone because his phone was wrecked in the incident,” Donna said.

“I completely agree that we do need to have the conversation around what happens with this money and make sure it is in Michael’s best interest.

“We’re not going to go and hand over a $100,000 cheque, that would put Michael at risk as well.

“We do have accountants on board to make sure that the money is put into a trust for Michael so that he can use it for living expenses.”

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Some public criticism has surfaced regarding Michael’s decision to live on the street despite his publicly funded housing.

“We know that many people in public housing, Michael’s not alone in this, do choose to often stay on the street,” Donna said.

“I hope he gets the help he needs,” Neil said.

“As has been reported, Michael has a criminal history, he did five years in jail for aggravated burglary so it must have been a bad one.

“He’s got drug problems which he has talked about himself.

“Great care needed there in my view.

“I still believe it was unwise, I would hate to see it become common behaviour by people, a part from anything, when police are there trying to handle it, it complicates the problem.”