Jon Bon Jovi first visited Joseph’s House in November while it was under construction. Today, he was joined by Camden Mayor Dana Redd; Camden County Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli; Monsignor Robert McDermott, Pastor, St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral; and residents who have benefited from Joseph’s House.
Joseph’s House opened in late January during a Code Blue alert and has continued to serve 75 homeless men and women each night. The Atlantic Avenue facility offers a unique concept as it partners with local agencies to provide social support services and enable its guests to address underlying issues and become self-sufficient. Services and their providers include: medical – Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and Project HOPE; addictions – Center for Family Services, Living Proof Recovery Program; mental health – Twin Oaks; legal – South Jersey Legal Services; veterans – Veterans Multi-Service Center and Camden County Board of Social Services.
Previously, Joseph’s House operated as a temporary, six-month facility offering food and shelter for the area’s chronically homeless during the winter.
“Joseph’s House was created especially for our guests – from the building’s design to staff training, healthy meals and expansive support services,” said John Klein, executive director, Joseph’s House. “We’re passionate about providing a safe, comfortable environment where we can not only help our guests feel at home, but also build a relationship based on trust so we can work together and help them move forward in their lives. We’re on this journey together.”
Monsignor McDermott, board chairman of The Joseph Fund and pastor, St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral, helped Klein spearhead the transition of Joseph’s House from a temporary facility into a year-round operation. He says, “Joseph’s House is more than a place to stay on a night-by-night basis. Through help from our community partners, we connect individuals with the services they need to achieve independence. In doing so, we’re helping each of our guests end their individual cycle of homelessness.”
According to the Community Planning & Advocacy Council (CPAC), from October 1, 2013 to March 21, 2014, more than 19,300 homeless adults sought assistance from Camden County agencies, many of which are located in the City of Camden. The most frequent reason provided by these respondents was a job income loss or reduction, followed by reasons such as loss or reduction of benefits, alcohol or drug abuse and illness, among others.
“My Administration, along with the support of City Council, was proud to contribute $125,000 in city funds to the Joseph’s House project,” said Mayor Dana L. Redd. “The partnership between the City, the County of Camden, Jon Bon Jovi and the Soul Foundation, and Joseph’s House will have a positive impact in assisting the homeless population receive shelter and an array of social services in one location.”
In addition to its lead gift from the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, Joseph’s House also received funding from Camden County Freeholders and the Homeless Trust Fund Advisory Committee, City of Camden – Mayor’s Administration and City Council, The Connelly Foundation, Halloran Philanthropies, Mr. & Mrs. Richard Haydinger, International Raw Materials, The Joseph Fund and TD Bank Charitable Foundation.
“We are honored to be able to support Joseph’s House as they work hard to connect with men and women who may not have a safe place to stay at night. This important project fills a gap in homeless services in the Camden area by offering the resources to help end homelessness and is a huge step forward as witnessed by the demand,” said Jon Bon Jovi, Chairman, JBJ Soul Foundation.
Since 2006, the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation has provided solutions and opportunity for families and individuals in economic despair. The organization assists in establishing programs that provide food and affordable housing for those affected by poverty and homelessness, while supporting social services and job-training programs.
The Soul Foundation has helped provide over 440 units of affordable housing and shelter for hundreds of people who were formerly homeless or of low-income. In October 2011, the Foundation expanded by opening The JBJ Soul Kitchen to address issues of food insecurity, and has since served over 22,500 meals. The community kitchen serves nutritious, culinary dishes in a restaurant atmosphere where diners contribute either volunteer hours or a minimum donation for their meals. As the Foundation continues to expand, the goal is to assist with rebuilding pride in one’s self and one’s community – one SOUL at a time.
Joseph’s House works collaboratively with others to aid the homeless people of Camden by offering a continuum of services including emergency shelter, a range of supportive housing and access to comprehensive social services. For more information on Joseph’s House, visit josephshouseofcamden.org.