Monthly Archives: September 2008



NJ Gov. Jon Corzine, Jon Bon Jovi, Help USA's Maria Cuomo Cole and Newark Mayor Cory Booker at Genesis Resident build site (Photo courtesy of AP.)
Newark, NJ – September 2, 2008 – Mayor Cory A. Booker was joined by Jon Bon Jovi, Governor Jon Corzine, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, and other local leaders at a press conference today in front of a vacant and undeveloped area at Oriental Street and Mt. Pleasant Avenue in the city’s North Ward, to announce the HELP Newark Initiative. This public-private partnership with Mr. Bon Jovi’s Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation and developer HELP USA will result in Newark Genesis Apartments, 51 new units of affordable housing with support services for low-income and special-needs persons, which will include ground-breaking environmentally-friendly “green” features such as a geothermal heating system and other components of New Jersey’s Green Future program. There will be a 2,500 square-foot community center as well.

“These new homes will provide much needed stability and comfort to Newark families. High quality, affordable housing, connected to community activities, social services, employment training and opportunities, this is the model for successfully redeveloping our neighborhoods. The public-private partnership with HELP USA, the Philadelphia Soul Foundation, the State and the City is just the most recent of a number of exciting new projects that we will be supporting to create new, quality, affordable housing,” said Mayor Booker. Under the Mayor’s leadership, the City has doubled the production of affordable housing and is moving to continue the trend.

“Newark’s time is now,” said Jon Bon Jovi, “As the Mayor enhances the city’s offerings to attract visitors, businesses and new residents continue, we are also working together to meet the needs of current residents who may not be able to afford market rate rents. Many of the residents who will live in these homes will have some type of special need, be it rehabilitation, medical care, child care, or vocational training, and we want to see to it that those needs are affordably and realistically met.”

Over the past three years, Mr. Bon Jovi and The Philadelphia Soul foundation have been instrumental in building 140 homes now in various stages of completion.

“Through this spirit of collaboration, we are ensuring the creation of good, affordable homes for the people of Newark,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “The Genesis Apartments project symbolizes the compassion we as a society must summon for our most vulnerable people. We need affordable housing in New Jersey now more than ever, and I am confident that at the state level, we will do all we can to facilitate the fulfillment of this basic right.”

“HELP USA is proud to be a part of this dynamic public private partnership. Under the innovative leadership of Mayor Cory Booker, Governor Jon Corzine, visionary and philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi and the Philadelphia Soul, HELP USA will be able to bring its years of experience in developing service enriched permanent housing to working families and people living with HIV/AIDS in Newark’s North Ward,” said Maria Cuomo Cole, Chairman of HELP USA.

The families residing at HELP Newark’s Genesis Apartments will receive a continuum of services to promote family stabilization, case management, and employment services provided both by HELP staff and local providers. In addition, HELP’s community center will offer programs designed to meet the needs of both the Newark Genesis Apartments tenants and the residents of the North Ward. HELP will work with the City of Newark, community leaders, such as Councilman Anibal Ramos, and local service providers from the North Ward to tailor the specific services provided at the community center.

“This is an integral part of a comprehensive plan to redevelop our neighborhoods with market rate and affordable housing. The distinctive aspect of HELP USA is their national model of success by building in support services to their affordable housing projects. We are excited that HELP USA is participating in the redevelopment of the North Ward. We are hopeful that we can connect HELP’S Newark Genesis Apartments to our local Raphael Hernandez Elementary School, our local police precinct, and other resident services available in the North Ward,” said Councilman Ramos.

Twenty-five percent of the apartments will be reserved for tenants living with AIDS, making HELP’s Newark Genesis Apartments the first residential facility in New Jersey to provide permanent housing that is fully integrated with the services of a post-acute care AIDS facility. In this case, the future tenants will be referred by Broadway House for Continuing Care, a post-acute care AIDS facility just a few blocks away in the North Ward. Broadway House staff will provide medical case-management and counseling on-site at Genesis Homes in order to meet the clients’ ongoing medical needs. The proximity and seamless service integration between HELP and Broadway House will ensure continuity of care and facilitate the clients’ successful return to independent living in their own communities. Broadway House is affiliated with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).

Through the efforts of the Economic Development Department’s Housing and Real Estate Division, the City of Newark will provide planning and development support, including “gap” financing in the amount of $1.4 million available from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Home Investment Partnership Program, to support the development of new affordable housing opportunities for Newark’s low and moderate income residents. With successful advocacy from Mayor Booker and his Housing and Real Estate Division, the project received critical financial and planning support from the State of New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs, the New Jersey Housing Mortgage Finance Agency and the Federal Home Loan Bank.

Jon Bon Jovi’s involvement with HELP USA dates back to Fall 2006, Jon Bon Jovi and designer Kenneth Cole joined together in an effort they dubbed, “R.S.V.P. to HELP.” Leading up to the 2006-2007 holiday season, the two partnered on a collaborative, limited-edition outerwear collection and a holiday gala to raise awareness and support for homelessness. Proceeds from the sale of the limited edition jackets, gala tickets, donations, and online auction raised funds that have since been funneled into the HELP USA build in Newark. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Kenneth Cole’s R.S.V.P. fragrance products – the campaign featured Jon Bon Jovi issuing a plea for Americans “answer the call” the help others – were donated to Habitat For Humanity, Help USA, and the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation.

Soul Foundation's Jon Bon Jovi addresses guests at Newark, NJ groundbreaking event. (Photo by Mike Derer, Courtesy of AP

HELP USA, a leading national nonprofit developer of supportive service housing for the homeless, low income families and special needs population – has developed the Newark project in collaboration with architectural services from George Marks of Kramer/Marks and financial and development consultant, Metro Company, LLC (Metro).

HELP USA is a national not-for-profit organization with a mission to empower the homeless and others in need to become and remain self-reliant. HELP USA was founded by Andrew Cuomo in 1986, and has grown to become one of the largest builders and operators of service-enriched transitional and low-income permanent housing in the nation. To date, HELP USA has developed more than 1,700 units of housing and operates 25 residential sites across the country, including transitional housing for homeless adults, families, and veterans; shelters for victims of domestic violence; and permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless and low-income families.

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 exists 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

Self-reliance and community are key concepts Jon Bon Jovi refers to when articulating his desire to aid Americans without affordable housing, job training, counseling and other such services. These concepts are a common thread among all the charities, corporations, and private donors that Bon Jovi has brought together to form unique partnerships over the past several years. It has become Jon Bon Jovi’s realized belief that by uniting entities who share common goals, those in need benefit exponentially. His mission to unite, motivate and inspire has not only impacted individuals and families in the immediate sense, but has also enhanced the areas where these efforts are taking place. As homes are built and services provided, a community is strengthened. Jon Bon Jovi and his Philadelphia Soul Foundation are currently the motivating force behind a total of 140 homes now in various stages of completion.