updated 04/23/2014 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/23/2014 AT 10:00 AM ET
Jon Bon Jovi’s hit tune “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” took on new meaning Tuesday as the rock star cut the ribbon on a namesake housing development for low-income residents and the formerly homeless in Philadelphia.
The 55-unit JBJ Soul Homes opened in the Francisville neighborhood after about 18 months of construction. Bon Jovi’s Soul Foundation provided the lead gift for the $16.6 million complex, which he hopes will offer tenants the support they need to get back on their feet.
“This is not a handout, it’s just a hand up,” Bon Jovi said in an interview before the official ceremony. “This opportunity for them is special and it’s not easy to come by.”
The four-story building, which was financed by public and private funds, also includes retail and office space. Residents will receive social services from Project HOME, a nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness in Philadelphia. HOME stands for Housing, Opportunities, Medical and Education.
JBJ Soul Homes is “taking our work to a whole new level,” said Project HOME co-founder Sister Mary Scullion.
The grand opening of the facility, which coincides with the agency’s 25th anniversary, is part of an initiative to build 500 such units across the city, Scullion said. Two developments totaling nearly 200 units are scheduled for groundbreaking over the coming year, she said.