Newark, NJ – December 8, 2009 – Mayor Cory A. Booker was joined by Jon Bon Jovi, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, Jr., HELP USA Chairman Maria Cuomo Cole, and other local leaders to cut the ribbon to open HELP Genesis JBJ Soul Homes on Oriental Street and Mt. Pleasant Avenue in the City’s North Ward. This public-private partnership with Mr. Bon Jovi’s JBJ Soul Foundation and developer HELP USA has produced 51 new units of affordable housing with support services for low-income and special-needs person. The residents includes environmentally-friendly “green” features such as a green roof, other components of New Jersey’s Green Futures program and qualifies for LEED certification. 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 Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, the State and the City is just the most recent of a number of exciting new projects that we are 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, we are 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 four years, Mr. Bon Jovi and The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation have been instrumental in providing homes to more than 200 low-income individuals and families throughout the country. The estimated construction cost of the Newark project is $10.4 million.

“HELP USA is proud to be a part of this dynamic public private partnership. Under the innovative leadership of Mayor Booker, Governor Jon Corzine, visionary and philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi and the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, 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 Ms. Cole.

The families residing at HELP Genesis JBJ Soul Homes 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 HELP Genesis JBJ Soul Homes tenants and the residents of the North Ward. HELP’s Mentoring USA program will provide one-on-one onsite mentoring for Newark’s children. HELP will work with the City of Newark, community leaders, such as Council Member Ramos, and local service providers from the North Ward to tailor the specific services provided at the community center.

“HELP’s Newark Genesis Apartments is a major part of the redevelopment of the area around Rafael Hernandez School. With market rate and affordable housing, and an integrated facility with post-acute care AIDS services, this housing complex will connect residents with each other, their community, and a continuum of care. We are grateful for the support of Jon Bon Jovi, Mayor Booker, and the Municipal Council for supporting our efforts to improve the quality of life for Newark residents,” said Council Member Ramos.

Twenty-five percent of the apartments have tenants living with AIDS, making HELP Genesis JBJ Soul Homes 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 tenants were 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 HELP Genesis JBJ Soul Homes in order to meet the clients’ ongoing medical needs. The proximity and seamless service integration between HELP USA 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).

Led by the efforts of the Economic Development Department’s Housing and Real Estate Division, the City of Newark has provided planning and development support for the project, including “gap” financing in the amount of $1.4 million funded through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Home Investment Partnership Program.

Jon Bon Jovi’s involvement with HELP USA dates back to Fall 2006, when 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 became the seed money for 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” to help others – were donated to Habitat For Humanity, HELP USA, and Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation.

Elle Decor and designer Elaine Griffin have donated their time and resources to create a sample apartment at Newark Soul Homes. All furnishings have been provided by HomeGoods who in turn is donating gift cards to all 51 units for use in their stores.

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), and Claremont Construction Group.


About the City of Newark, New Jersey
Newark, commonly referred to as Brick City, is the third oldest city in the United States and the largest in New Jersey, with a population of more than 280,000 people. Newark sits on one of the nation’s largest transportation super-structures including an international airport, major rail connections, major highway intersections and the busiest seaport on the east coast.

With a new Administration as of July 2006, Newark continues to see signs of a strong revival. In population, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the northeast. Its six major colleges and universities are further expanding their presence. The production of affordable housing has doubled, businesses are returning and crime is going down. There is still much work to be done but Newark is on its way to achieving its mission: to set a national standard for urban transformation.

For more information on the City of Newark, please Click HERE

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 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 1,938 units of housing and operates 30 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.

For more information on HELP USA, please Click HERE

To read an article on this event on NewJerseyNewsRoom.com, please Click HERE

To read an article on this event on Metro Green Business, please Click HERE