Monthly Archives: February 2010



“I’ve spent the last quarter of a century touring, going from arena-stadium to hotel back to arena-stadium-hotel,” he says. “This time, because of my foundation’s work over the last six years building affordable housing, on my days off and when the opportunity arises … I will go do shelters and try to learn more about the issue and how to combat it.”

Among those stops: Skid Row in Los Angeles early next month with Steve Lopez, the Los Angeles Times columnist who wrote “The Soloist,” about a schizophrenic, homeless and wildly talented cellist named Nathaniel Ayers. The book was later made into a movie.

“Skid Row is an eye-opener,” Lopez said in an e-mail. “I don’t know Jon Bon Jovi, but I suspect he may come out of this with a keener sense of how many people are suffering in this economy, and of how many people on Skid Row are dealing with a combination of financial, physical and mental health issues, many of them veterans.”

Such themes dovetail with the latest album, which features “Working for the Working Man” and other songs inspired by the economic meltdown and political turmoil around the world.

Before he kicked off the tour with two shows at Seattle’s KeyArena last week, Bon Jovi toured one of the city’s most well-recognized homelessness programs, a building run by the Downtown Emergency Service Center that provides homeless alcoholics, many of whom have serious mental illnesses, a place to live — and drink alcohol.

The program saves taxpayers more than $4 million a year in social service and jail costs and creates a safe atmosphere where residents may be more likely to get sober, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association last year.


The singer didn’t specify what aspects of the program he might incorporate into his future work at the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which has built more than 150 units of affordable housing in seven cities since 2006. Various problems of homelessness require different solutions, he said.

Thinking back on a quarter-century of hanging out in hotels around the world, does the 47-year-old wish he started working on the homelessness issue earlier?

“I don’t think I was ready for it,” he said. “When you’re a boy in a rock band, you want to go out and see the world and do all the great things you’re supposed to do when you join a rock band. Now there’s another aspect to it. There’s just more to be said and done, and the difference that can be felt on the trail that you’ve made.”

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Mr. Bon Jovi first heard about 1811 Eastlake – a facility of the DESC (Downtown Emergency Service Center) when H.U.D. Secretary Shaun Donovan referred to them in his speech at the National Association To End Homelessness Conference.

Bon Jovi has been in Seattle rehearsing for the kick-off of the band’s “The Circle World Tour” here on Friday, Feb. 19th, and the rock star philanthropist took time to reach out to the DESC staff. A visit to 1811 Eastlake was arranged to see first-hand and discuss their Housing First model of providing housing to those in need while also offering on-site support services intended to address the core issues that have led to chronic homelessness.

Through his own non-profit organization, the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, Mr. Bon Jovi has focused for several years on a core mission of of focusing resources on creating innovative partnerships that help break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and /or homelessness. Funding priorities have been affordable “green” housing and community revitalization.

About DESCDowntown Emergency Service Center – DESC is one of the largest multi-service non-profit agencies in the Pacific Northwest serving over 6,500 homeless adults annually. The DESC serves the most disabled and vulnerable subset of homeless adults – individuals who are mentally ill, chemically dependent, female, elderly, physically or developmentally disabled and/or medically compromised. They provide a “continuum of care” that includes emergency services and overnight shelter, clinical services and supportive housing. Governed by a Board of Directors, DESC currently provides its programs based on an annual budget of $20 million, with a staff of nearly 400. DESC receives funding from the City, County, State and Federal governments, along with United Way and private philanthropy. The DESC has been recognized by HUD and others not just for quality, but for effective integration across programs that constitutes a “continuum of care” within the agency.



Phoenix Pass will be a long-term transitional housing complex, the first in Rockdale County, serving families, particularly women with children, who are experiencing temporary homelessness in the Conyers/Rockdale County Community. Phoenix Pass is being constructed through the assistance of HomeAid Atlanta, a nonprofit organization that builds housing for the homeless. The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation’s partnership with HomeAid Atlanta has allowed the Phoenix Pass project to come to fruition, supplying critical gap funding needed to begin the first phase of construction.

Phoenix Pass consists of a two eight-unit apartment buildings as well as a community center. The groundbreaking took place in July of 2009 and the project is currently in Phase One, which will include one of the apartment buildings and the community center (see Photos link above). Phase Two will include the second apartment building.

Of the 16 total apartment units, 14 units will be 775 square feet each, and two units (one per building) will be 866 square feet each for ADA compliance. Each apartment unit will include a kitchen, living room, two bedrooms and a private bathroom. All units have central A/C and heat and the build incorporates many green building elements. One family will occupy each unit (each unit can accommodate up to six family members).

Anchored by a lighthouse, the community center will include an activity room, meeting room, laundry room, storage area, four restrooms, two kitchenettes and staff office. Phoenix Pass will provide transitional housing for up to two years along with a case management program, a mentorship program, life skills classes (e.g. financial management, family management, job assistance) and aftercare programs. RER provides assistance and supportive services for families living and/or working in the Rockdale County community.

As of Monday, February 15th, 2010, Phoenix Pass is currently moving along at a great pace! The brick and siding have been fully installed on the apartment building, and the windows are being installed on the lighthouse. The process of finalizing the selection of paint colors is almost complete and the painting of the exterior should begin shortly. A trench will soon be dug for piping for the fire sprinkler system. When the trench has been filled in, the exterior concrete flatwork and iron railings can be installed on the apartment building. Check out the Phoenix Pass Photo Gallery for pictures of what the project currently looks like.

The dedication of Phoenix Pass is anticipated to be in the Spring of 2010!

Check back for more updates as the project nears completion!

For more information on HomeAid Atlanta and Project Pass, please Click HERE