November 16, 2021
Music star Jon Bon Jovi is helping to build a new long-term recovery residence in Kensington that will provide 62 units for men and women struggling with homelessness or addiction.
The residence, located at 100 E. Lehigh Ave. on the Temple Episcopal Hospital campus, will be the 21st affordable housing residence run by Project HOME. It will mark the nonprofit's second long-term recovery center in Kensington, one of the Philadelphia neighborhoods hit hardest by the opioid epidemic.
Bon Jovi is involved with the project through his JBJ Soul Foundation, which has provided financial support to various Project HOME efforts over the years.
"It is a pivotal moment for the JBJ Soul Foundation to join this groundbreaking in Kensington, with partners who continue to help those experiencing street homelessness," the New Jersey musician said. "We are so proud to continue our long-time support of Project HOME in this new endeavor, which will provide much needed safe housing and impactful services to the residents of this community, and we invite you all to join us in this work."
All residents will have access to employment and educational services as part of their long-term recovery plans. Health care and substance abuse recovery programs will be accessible as needed.
The residence will include eight entry-level beds and 54 housing units, increasing Project HOME's total housing units to more than 1,030 throughout the city.
The project's other major funding partner is MPOWER, an initiative spearheaded by Leigh and John Middleton, the principal owner of the Phillies. MPOWER has worked on nine projects with Project HOME, which the nonprofit says improves its impact on the city.
"This building represents a loving, supportive refuge for the Kensington community and a commitment from those who support it that we recognize the need," Project HOME co-founder Sister Mary Scullion said. She said she hopes the new residence will "empower adults to break the cycle of chronic street homelessness."
The city's Office of Homelessness Services estimates that 5,700 residents are experiencing homelessness, though that the rate of street homelessness in Philadelphia is lower per capita than other large cities across the country.
The city's strategic plan to address homelessness includes a five-step process to improve transparency and communication, increase access to employment opportunities and government services, and expand the housing inventory.
City data shows 11,221 people in Philadelphia entered into some sort of emergency housing – a city-run safe haven, emergency shelter, transitional housing or permanent housing project – between July 2020 and June 2021. About 80% of people who left emergency housing for permanent housing during that time did not return to homelessness.
The city's homelessness outreach program, in conjunction with Project HOME's community-based outreach initiatives, aims to end chronic street homelessness and transition people into long-term, permanent housing across the city.