If you've ever read DISH you know helping others, supporting others and charity is what really motivates us and The Star of Hope Homeless Shelter has been our pet project for many years, even since before DISH's inception. Needless to say when we heard our very favorite singer in the world, Jon Bon Jovi visited with the homeless in Dallas after two sold-out shows over the weekend, we knew we had to tell the story!
Forget the typical rock star egotystical behavior, Bon Jovi spent Monday afternoon continuing his education on how communities can combat homelessness by taking tours of CityWalk@Akard and the Casa Youth Emergency Shelter.
"It's one soul at a time," Bon Jovi said.
In 2006, Bon Jovi started the nonprofit Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation (formerly the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation) and has since built 250 affordable housing units in Philadelphia.
During this concert tour, Bon Jovi has made a commitment to visit as many homeless shelters and foundations as possible in each of the tour cities to share ideas about the fight against homelessness.
Monday's first stop was CityWalk@Akard, where Bon Jovi talked to John Greenan, executive director of the Central Dallas Community Development Corp., and Larry James, president and chief executive officer of Central Dallas Ministries.
CityWalk had its grand opening last month and provides low-cost housing in Dallas to formerly homeless and low-income residents. The facility offers furnished units in a downtown Dallas high-rise, with rents ranging from $350 to $912 per month, including utilities.
A 7-Eleven will be opening in the mixed use building soon. It also has penthouse lofts and business office space which were pre-sold before the project even started.
"Those folks are cleaning up their own act because no one's pointing their finger," Bon Jovi said.
Money and opposition from the neighborhoods is always the biggest issue when low-income housing projects are being considered. But in the long run, these programs can save taxpayers money.
"We're saving taxpayers $50 million per year in Dallas," James said.
The second stop Monday was the Casa Youth Shelter, a 20-bed haven for runaways and troubled youths operated by the Salvation Army.
The shelter – where youth can stay up to 30 days – is funded through grants, federal dollars and donations and offers group, family and individual therapy. Two Dallas Independent School District teachers provide educational support.
Bon Jovi said he understands that the homeless may not be everyone's cause, but he said it is important to get out there, find a passion and volunteer.
"This moves me," Bon Jovi said.
He said wants he wants the next ten years to be a " 'we' decade not a 'me' decade."
For more information on how you can help with the homlessness in Houston or Dallas, click on the links above or google your city and homeless shelter to find a way to help nearest you.