From belting out hit songs like Livin’ On A Prayer, One Wild Night and It’s My Life, Jon Bon Jovi certainly has made a name for himself not just in the music industry but also in the hearts of his fans worldwide. After all, his songs have risen to the top of various charts, garnering a huge fan base. But now, the singer isn’t just using his voice to croon to fans, he’s using it to help those in need. Through his JBJ Soul Foundation, he’s making a difference “One SOUL At A Time”. And the latest recipients of his help are the homeless veterans.
Recently, the JBJ Soul Foundation donated $500,000 to help build the new apartment facility in Washington DC for veterans who are homeless, the very people who constantly put themselves out in the line of fire for their people and their country. The rock star’s donation was brought to light during CNN‘s piece titled The Lead with Jake Tapper, where the 57-year-old said, “Often times, [veterans] left to deal with PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] and the issue of coming back to the workplace after leaving the battlefield…Life as you knew it is going to be different, and sometimes, people need that extra help.”
Though this news is recent, the apartment complex for the veterans was actually a decade in the making. It got the support from the non-profit HELP USA, an organization that helps battle homelessness in the United States, according to 105.7 WROR FM. But giving the veterans a place to call home isn’t the only aim. This housing facility also provides various programs to help them get back on their feet.
Many veterans who return from the field struggle with having to deal with PTSD and finding a way to get back to life. But not all of them are able to turn to their close ones or find a place to stay. As a result, they take to the streets, making it their home or bounce around various homeless shelters that may or may not be equipped to handle their needs.
“You tend to find social isolation in veterans coming off the streets,” said David Cleghorn, HELP USA’s chief housing officer, according to Stars and Stripes. He added that even after finding a permanent home, formerly homeless veterans will often “close the door, lock it, and never come back out again, because there’s a survival mode they get into… We try to develop spaces in the building that will encourage veterans to spend time together.”
Thankfully, HELP USA and the JBJ Soul Foundation made sure that they help as many as they can, including veterans like Clifton Braxton, 72, an Air Force veteran who has been in and out of homelessness for more than 20 years. For a long time, he either couch-surfed with friends and family or got himself comfortable living in cars.
29-year-old Latisha Austin was another vet like Braxton, who became homeless in 2017 and has been adjusting to a temporary housing facility for almost a year. But these two and dozens others like them don’t have to do that anymore. The two even had the chance to meet the large-hearted rocker as they moved in.
Though Bon Jovi himself has never been a part of the military service, his parents were both Marines. “Service was always a part of who I was,” Jovi told The Washington Post, quoted Stars and Stripes. And there is something even more special about the veterans’ facility — the opening comes right after Bon Jovi released their new song, Unbroken in honor of the brave men and women who fought hard for their country only to return to homelessness.
It speaks through the voice of a veteran who is back home with haunting nightmares and battle scars that paint their body, but who would get right back out there on the field to do it again for their country.
The song is featured in the documentary To Be of Service, which breaks down the way veterans deal with PTSD and how their service dogs help them change their lives around, reported USA Today. The entire proceeds from the song are slated to go to the Patriotic Service Dog Foundation, a non-profit organization that pairs veterans and first responders with service dogs.
So now, with this new apartment complex set up for homeless veterans, they finally can come back to a place called home. According to Veterans Advantage, during a concert the singer hosted for American servicemen and women, Bon Jovi said, “We love them and appreciate what they go through for their nation and for their families that are thinking of them.”