By Ileana Diaz, Michelle Durham
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Rocker Jon Bon Jovi made an appearance in Camden Wednesday to a tour a new facility, being partly funded by the “Jon Bon Jovi Foundation,” aimed at helping the homeless.
Joseph’s House has onsite facilities that include mental helath and substance abuse counseling as well as a free medical clinic provided by Lourdes Hospital. This is something Bon Jovi is passionate about:
“Having been involved in similar projects around the country, we realize the need not only for safe and accessible shelter, but also the need to have many service providers under one roof.”
Joseph Fund Executive Director Mark Hodges agrees and says it is the only way to guarantee these folks get what they need:
“It’s about trust and they are afraid to trust others. But if it’s on site and they can get up in the morning and then go down the hall instead of down the street…it changes their perspective completely.”
The 75 bed facility has been cleaned up before, but people are living out on the streets in tents again. Homeless advocate Micah Kahn tells Eyewitness News there is a reason Camden’s tent city keeps coming back:
“People are at risk of being homeless if they lose a pay check. You know, with the economy the way it is the homeless situation is actually getting worse,” said Kahn from the Nehemiah Group.
There are over 20 families living in one area of tent city, but in the county, there are thousands on the street every night and with colder weather it becomes harder to get by.
“One guy gave up on his life because of the conditions of just trying to survive,” said Kahn.
There are people like Ernest Lindsay who not only survived the streets, but he is now off of them and finishing up his bachelor’s degree after getting shelter and help from a program aimed for the homeless.
“If I hadn’t woken up and gotten off of drugs, I would never have been where I’m at now and I am grateful,” said Lindsay.
“It took will, it takes money and lots of great partnerships,” Bon Jovi adds. “Providing with four walls and or a meal is desperate and a need but having the opportunity to take the next steps because of social services is what sets Joseph’s House apart.”
Joseph’s House is expected to open its doors before the end of the year and they already have future plans to use a part of their facility for permanent housing.