Monday, March 19, 2012

Project REACH (Real-Time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless)

The Veteran's Administration (VA) and Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) joined forces with rock star Jon Bon Jovi during a 3 p.m. conference call on March 19, 2012 to announce a new developer challenge: Project REACH (Real-Time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless). The project challenges applicants to make a free, easy-to-use, and broadly accessible web- and Smartphone app to provide current and up-to-date information about housing and shelter, health clinics, food banks, and other services available to the homeless. It is designed to tap the enormous talent and deep compassion of the nation’s developer community to help us deliver vital information to the people who care for the homeless. People caring for homeless veterans will be able to use this app to look up the location and availability of shelters, free clinics, and other social services – and instantaneously be able to share this critical information with those in need. "Last year’s 12 percent drop in Veterans homelessness shows the results of President Obama’s and the whole administration's commitment to ending Veterans homelessness,” said Secretary of House and Urban Development Shaun Donovan. "I want to thank Jon Bon Jovi for being a part of that effort and for using competition and innovation to advance the cause of ending homelessness."

The VA has joined this developer challenge as part of VA’s mission to end homelessness among our nation’s Veterans. One out of every six men and women in our nation’s homeless shelters are Veterans, and Veterans are 50 percent more likely to fall into homelessness compared to other Americans. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said, "This contest taps the talent and deep compassion of the Nation’s developer community. We are asking them to make a free, easy-to-use Web and smartphone app that provides current information about housing, health clinics and food banks." The ultimate goal of the contest is to create a national platform that enables health clinics, food kitchens, housing services and shelters to update availability of key services automatically on the Internet. The winning app will collect, map, and electronically distribute that information for communities across the nation. Five finalists will pilot their mobile applications at JBJ Soul Kitchen, where diners can cover the cost of their meals either through donation or volunteer service. "Putting this information in the hands of those who can help will make a tremendous difference in the life of a homeless Veteran or anyone who experiences homelessness," added Jonah Czerwinski, director of the VA Innovation Initiative.

Bon Jovi is a member of President Obama’s White House Council for Community Solutions, and founder of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the lives of people facing economic challenges. The Soul Foundation operates the JBJ Soul Kitchen - a community restaurant in Monmouth County, N.J. "At the Soul Kitchen we’ve seen the need for a simple, user-friendly, comprehensive application that connects those in need to resources in their community. As we sought out a solution to resolve the disconnect, we found the VA, HUD and HHS to be of like mind. Together we can provide the information about existing services – now we need the bright minds in the developer community to create a platform to tie it all together" said Jon Bon Jovi. The first five entries to meet the requirements listed at will receive a $10,000 cash prize and the opportunity to test their app at the JBJ Soul Kitchen. The winner will receive a $25,000 prize. In 2008, Bon Jovi, whose parents were Marines, in 2011 teamed up with Project H.O.M.E. in Philadelphia that works with homeless people, including veterans. The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation helped open Philadelphia’s Covenant House and supported the Covenant House Rights of Passage program and opened a homeless shelter for teens in Philadelphia.

In April 2011 Bon Jovi opens Philadelphia’s Covenant House, a $3 million homeless shelter for teens.


  1. If they are homeless will they have a smartphone to run the app on? If they do might I suggest they get their priorities in order?

  2. If you read carefully you will see that the app will be primarily aimed at caregivers...