Rocker and homeless-person advocate Jon Bon Jovi is partnering with the Departments of Veteran Affairs (VA), Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and Health & Human Services (HHS) to challenge developers to create a mobile app to help homeless veterans to connect with and find medical, housing and other services.
“The concept is we can access vets to instant and real-time help via the internet. What better way to do that than through the minds of the tech community?”, said Bon Jovi in a conference call with reporters. The rocker has long been an advocate for the homeless population. His JBJ Soul Foundation runs a community kitchen, The Soul Kitchen, in Red Bank, NJ among his many philanthropic efforts.
There were 636,017 homeless people in the United States last year. 67,495 of those homeless were vets, and the federal government helped 12% of them find homes. This initiative will help the Obama Administration meet its goal of eliminating homelessness by vets by 2015. Even if vets themselves don’t have smartphones, they often go into places like soup kitchens, homeless shelters and job centers where there are people who do. The challenge is designed to motivate people in those places, as well as people encountering the homeless in the streets, to use technology to help those in need.
The Project REACH (Real-time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless) contest will launch March 22nd. 5 grants worth $10,000 will be awarded August 24th, and the winner will receive a $25,000 prize on November 9th. The 3 agencies, as well as the JBJ Soul Foundation, will use their own resources to promote the winning app.
Not only is Jon Bon Jovi alive and well, he is helping those who have served our country so well. Now THIS is the way to effectively use your celebrity!