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Everyone involved in this undertaking gathered to celebrate the revitalization of the rowhouses, and in turn the revitalization of the community. Now, thanks to Project H.O.M.E. and the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, the block is fully occupied for the first time in decades. Community represents the future: seventeen children, all under the age of eighteen, will be among the new residents in these homes.
Earlier in the day, Philadelphia Soul co-owner Jon Bon Jovi toured one of the completed and occupied houses with one of the first-time homeowners. He then joined the celebration, which included the extended community, welcoming the new homeowners to the neighborhood. Bon Jovi addressed those in attendance, noting the continued support from the local and state governments, the experience and dedication of Sister Mary Scullion and Joan Dawson McConnon and the entire Project H.O.M.E. staff, and taking the opportunity to thank individuals, including young Jonathan Silverstone who donated the money received as Bar Mitzvah gifts to support the work of the Philadelphia Soul Foundation. Bon Jovi also offered his thanks to Saturn, not only for their financial partnership but for adding a ‘green’ component to the project. And finally, he spoke about how hard these families worked to make homeownership a reality. Without all these combined efforts, he said, “… this would still be but a dream.”
Following is the official Press Release:
JON BON JOVI AND PROJECT H.O.M.E. COMPLETE RENOVATIONS & WELCOME FAMILIES “H.O.M.E. FOR THE HOLIDAYS”
15 LOW-AND MODERATE – INCOME & FORMERLY
HOMELESS FAMILIES MOVE INTO REVITALIZED
NEIGHBORHOOD THANKS TO PARTNERSHIP
BETWEEN JON BON JOVI’S PHILADELPHIA SOUL
FOUNDATION, PROJECT H.O.M.E. AND SATURN
Philadelphia, PA — November 26, 2007 — Jon Bon Jovi today announced that 13 of the families are moving into brand new homes in time for the holidays (with 2 additional families moving in after the new year) thanks to a unique partnership that he has brokered between Project H.O.M.E., the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation and Saturn. It has been a little over one year since Jon Bon Jovi was joined last October by President Bill Clinton, who attended the press conference where Bon Jovi announced an undertaking to unite the efforts of local organization, Project H.O.M.E. with his own Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, and Saturn to renovate 15 homes on what was then a deteriorated lot in North Philadelphia.
These 13 homes are part of Project H.O.M.E.’s Phase V Homeownership Program which focused on two blocks of historically significant, deteriorated row houses in North Central Philadelphia — the 1800 and 1900 blocks of North 23rd Street. By employing “green building strategies,” Phase V renovated existing structures into energy efficient homes containing Energy Star-rated appliances. In addition, the plan included the reduction of block density and development of sideyards – all significant steps in promoting long-term health, safety and affordability for owners.
All of the 13 families are first-time homeowners. They all agree that this is an unprecedented opportunity for their families – financially and personally. As one homeowner, Marion Rogers explains, “There’s nothing like owning your own home – it is something you pass down to your kids.”
These new homes, however, are not only life-changing for the 13 families moving into them; they are forever changing the block and larger community in which they are located. As Helen Brown, Project H.O.M.E. Community Organizer and Black Captain for the 1800 Block of 23rd Street explains, “I have lived in this neighborhood for 45 years – never before have I seen so much neighborhood pride and just as important – there is so much hope.”
The Phase V Homeownership Project is the continuation of Project H.O.M.E.’s goal to revitalize their community by reducing blight and treating vacant properties one block at a time. Project H.O.M.E. has led other initiatives in the area to empower inhabitants with a sense of responsibility and open-space/environmental enhancement, a community health service program, after-school and adult learning programs at the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs, and economic development along Ridge Avenue.
About PROJECT H.O.M.E.
Since 1989, Project H.O.M.E. has helped more than 7,000 people break the cycle of homelessness and poverty by providing a continuum of care that includes street outreach, supporting housing and comprehensive services that focus on health care, education and employment. They also work to prevent homelessness and poverty through comprehensive neighborhood revitalization in North Philadelphia. These efforts include the renovation of vacant or deteriorated houses which are then sold to first-time homebuyers, economic reinvestment along the Ridge Avenue corridor, greening of vacant lots, adult and youth education and enrichment programs at the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs and community-based health care services. For more information go to www.projecthome.org
About JON BON JOVI
Musician, singer, songwriter and actor, JON BON JOVI is most recognizable as the voice for the band BON JOVI, which has set the bar for more than two decades as one of the most successful rock bands in the world. Globally, they have sold more than 120 million albums and performed more than 2,500 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 32 million fans. Their latest album, the Nashville-inspired LOST HIGHWAY, was released June 19, 2007, debuted at #1 around the world and includes the hit songs “Lost Highway” and “(You Want To) Make A Memory.” The band’s 2005 album, HAVE A NICE DAY, featured the Grammy Award-winning song, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” and fueled one of the top-selling tours of 2005.
As a philanthropist, Jon Bon Jovi is the first Founding Ambassador of the Habitat For Humanity Ambassador Program. His support for Habitat For Humanity began in 2005 when he provided the funds to build six homes in Philadelphia and worked to build the homes with the homeowner families and members of his Philadelphia Soul Arena Football Team. Later, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Jon Bon Jovi surprised Oprah Winfrey with a check from his band for $1 million. Bon Jovi, Habitat and Oprah’s Angel Network build 29 homes in Houma, LA with low-income families previously displaced by the natural disaster. Then, in October 2006, Jon announced a unique partnership he brokered between Project H.O.M.E., the newly formed Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation and Saturn to renovate 15 row houses in one of Philadelphia’s most poverty-ridden neighborhoods. Including those 15 homes, Jon is currently a motivating force behind a total of 60 homes being built in partnership with low-income families.
About PHILADELPHIA SOUL CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
In 2003, Jon Bon Jovi introduced the Arena Football League (AFL) to the city of Philadelphia. Jon is the Majority Owner, Co-Chairman of the Board (along with partner Craig A. Spencer) of the Philadelphia Soul. With his ownership of the Philadelphia Soul, Jon’s goal was to introduce a new type of sports owner. The Soul’s organization – from the owners down to each team member – have proven to be a visible and active presence in the Philadelphia community. Each season, the team identifies local causes and organizations with whom they can partner.
In 2005, the ownership group of the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football team established a nonprofit organization and announced its formation in October 2006. Through the creation of programs and partnerships, the Soul Foundation’s mission is to combat the issues that force families and individuals into economic despair. The foundation’s current funding priorities support projects that create permanent affordable housing for the low income populations and support education and job training programs for the homeless that can help lead them to self-sufficiency.