DETROIT: While Jon Bon Jovi is used to bringing down the house, today he announced the building of five homes in the Morning Side community on Detroit’s East Side. On behalf of his Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, Bon Jovi joined Saturn General Manager Jill Lajdziak, Detroit-area Saturn retailers and Habitat for Humanity Detroit to kick off a construction blitz that will provide five Detroit families with their own homes by the holidays.
The Saturn Hands on Homes program coordinates funding and volunteer efforts with Saturn and its local retailers. The homes will be built on five adjoining lots on Wayburn Street.
At a ceremony today, the last home on the construction sites was torn down and the wall of the first new home was raised. Construction will operate in phases through the summer and early fall, concluding in November.
Saturn’s headquarters is in Detroit, a city hit particularly hard by current economic troubles, and Saturn’s local retailers volunteered to lead this effort. The location of the build adds another community to the long list of U.S. towns where Jon Bon Jovi’s mission to build and/or renovate low-income housing has impacted the lives of deserving families. During the past several years, Bon Jovi and his Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation have provided funding for affordable housing units in Philadelphia, PA, Brooklyn, NY, Colorado Springs, CO, Atlanta, GA, Los Angeles, CA and Houma, LA. He looks forward to more projects in other cities, including Newark, NJ this fall.
The announcement in Detroit coincides with tonight’s sold-out performance by Bon Jovi at the Palace at Auburn Hills, one of the final dates on the band’s Lost Highway World Tour, which is currently the top-selling tour in the world.
“The most basic fundamental of the American dream is home ownership,” said Lajdziak. “Saturn believes in being a good neighbor by giving back to people in the communities where we do business. And, given the fact we’ll have three different hybrid vehicle models on the market by the end of this year, we’re especially pleased that these homes will be constructed using greener building practices.”
The homes will feature greener building attributes such as:
Efficient, Energy Star-rated appliances
Rinnai on-demand hot water heaters
Extra-low-VOC interior paint
Dow Safe Touch interior insulation, made of recycled denim
Fully recyclable carpet made of 60-percent recycled materials
Drywall made from the ashes of coal-burning power plants
Trees and “green” landscaping using low maintenance plants
Rain barrels to collect water for landscape care in a planned community garden
Saturn owners and the general public will have an opportunity to donate money to Saturn Hands on Homes by visiting one of the 10 participating Detroit-area Saturn retailers, which are also donating funds and sponsoring volunteer work crews. After July 21, 2008, donations of cash and time also can be made at www.saturnhandsonhomes.com.
“The Detroit-area retailers are very excited about this project,” said Carl Galeana, past president of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association and owner of Saturn of Warren and Saturn of Lakeside. “Our success in this market has been tremendous and, therefore, we are proud to give back to the local community.”
Saturn Hands on Homes, Habitat for Humanity, Project H.O.M.E. and the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation teamed up on a similar home-building project that was completed in North Philly in 2007.
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry that works in partnership with people from all walks of life to revitalize neighborhoods through the construction of affordable homes for families who do not qualify for conventional mortgages. Habitat partner families invest 250-400 hours of their own “sweat equity” into building their homes and the homes of others.
“I’ve seen what a miraculous thing it is to hand someone the keys to a new home – not only a beautiful home that they can be proud to own, but a home that they’ve invested their own time, sweat and resources in,” said Jon Bon Jovi. “Support from the private sector, with companies such as Saturn, helps make these builds possible.”
During the past 22 years, Habitat for Humanity Detroit has built or renovated more than 258 affordable homes for low-income working families across the city. Since 2005, the organization has been working with U-SNAP-BAC, an East Side community development organization, and the MorningSide Community Organization to redevelop the 16-block area on Detroit’s East Side. This effort builds on the momentum started by U-SNAP-BAC that includes the construction of 120 new housing and rental units.
“These will be beautiful, sustainable and affordable homes built with compassion,” said Vincent Tilford, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity Detroit. “We’re proud to be helping to transform lives, as well as transforming the MorningSide neighborhood.”
Saturn, a division of Genereal Motors Corp., markets vehicles in the U.S. and Canada through a network of about 450 retailer facilities, with a focus on providing innovative products with solid value and excellent customer service. Since 2006, the brand has launched five all-new vehicles, completely revitalizing its lineup. Its 2007 retail sales increased 12 percent over 2006. Later this year, Saturn will launch its third hybrid model, a two-mode hybrid Vue crossover. Saturn has a history of giving back to the communities in which it operates, through rebuilding playgrounds, partnering with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, or hosting 11 years of National Donor Day to boost awareness of and encourage blood, organ and marrow donations.
About Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation:
The Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing about positive change and helping the lives of those in need one soul at a time. Through the creation of programs and partnerships targeted at breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness, the Foundation existts to combat issues that force families and individuals into economic despair. Current funding priorities have been directed toward affordable housing in cities across the country. Jon Bon Jovi and the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation have provided funding to projects that will provide 140 units of affordable housing for low-income individuals and families by the end of 2008. To learn more, visit www.philadelphiasoulfoundation.org
About Habitat for Humanity Detroit:
Habitat for Humanity Detroit is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit ecumenical Christian housing ministry providing decent, safe and affordable housing to low-income families in Detroit. Since 1986, the Detroit affiliate has rehabilitated and/or built new houses for more than 258 families. Financial support, gift-in-kind donations and volunteer labor allow Habitat for Humanity to continue building affordable homes for those in need. For more information, please visit www.habitatdetroit.org or call (313) 521-6691.