- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 19, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Rocker Jon Bon Jovi may no longer own a sports team in Philadelphia, but he still keeps the city close to his soul.

Bon Jovi returned to Philadelphia on Tuesday to lend his star power to the opening of a new homeless shelter for teens and young adults.

The New Jersey native is a longtime advocate for homeless causes in Philadelphia, Newark, N.J., New Orleans and other cities.

Allowing young people to fall through society’s cracks “denies all of us their talents and visions,” Bon Jovi told a small crowd at the opening of the Covenant House shelter in the gritty Kensington neighborhood.

The facility will house 20 people, ages 18 to 21. Many of them have aged out of the foster-care system or formerly lived on the streets. The shelter will provide a needed bridge to adulthood and independence, helping residents set work, educational and life goals.

“They don’t have a safety net,” said Kevin Ryan, president of Covenant House International.

One resident said he had sold drugs and lived on the streets, but he also finished high school.

“I did bad things in the past, but I’m a good person,” said Steve, 21, who said he did not want his last name used. “It actually shocks me to know how much people care.”

The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation contributed to the $3 million facility. The singer used to be an owner of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League. He was recently named to President Barack Obama’s White House Council for Community Solutions.

Bon Jovi has been rocking for more than two decades with songs including “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “It’s My Life.” The band has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Covenant House works with homeless young adults in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.