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Bon Jovi, VA, HUD Launch Contest: Create App To Help Homeless Vets, Win $25,000

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Combatting veteran homelessness is at our fingertips, according to a new initiative called Project REACH.

Real-time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless, or REACH, is taking submissions of mobile and website apps that will help homeless veterans find health clinics, food banks and housing -- rewarding the contest winner with $25,000, ABC reports.

The contest is being launched by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Jon Bon Jovi's Soul Foundation.

Pete Dougherty, acting executive director of VA's homeless veterans initiative, thinks that besides the money, there's a lot to be won in this challenge.

"Innovations that get information about services right to the point of contact in real or near real time using smartphones and Internet technology are going to have a big impact," he told Nextgov.com. "They are going to help us defeat veteran homelessness by 2015."

Veterans currently make up around 14 percent of the homeless population -- about 67,495 adults last year alone, according to REACH. The app actually targets volunteers as opposed to homeless -- many of who may not have phones.

"The expectation here is that we reach caregivers and volunteers [with the app]," Bon Jovi told ABC, citing that street teams could benefit from this technology immediately.

Besides the big grand prize, the top five finalists will receive $10,000 for their work.

Project REACH will take app submissions until July 27, with winners announced Nov. 3. To learn more about the contest, click here.

To help fight veteran homelessness, visit the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

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