City for Homeless

Creative thinking in this proposal from Citizens Again based in Folsom.

An excerpt.

“FOLSOM, Calif., Dec. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today, after 2 1/2 years in development, Citizens Again announces its project to build a single, supportive living environment for America’s entire chronic homeless adult population. It will be a secure, all-inclusive, private city, built from the ground up, with all the amenities and services necessary for a 150,000 high-needs population.

“Plans for the 300-acre City include high-density housing, hospital and full healthcare, food services, activities, entertainment, life skills enrichment, on-site jobs and training, and more. Early cost estimates to build the City to be approximately $3B (2019 dollars).

“11 Years Instead of 200

“For decades, politicians have worked to ‘end homelessness’ by repeating the same efforts of creating small shelters in cities across America to house the chronic homeless,” said Duane Nason, founder of Citizens Again. “Based on the government’s placement rate from the last ten years, it will take close to 200 years to create enough shelters to house the 90,000 unsheltered chronic homeless adults. Nobody wants to wait that long. With Citizens Again, it will take about 11 years to build the city, with a target open date of 2031.”

“To solve the problems the chronic homeless cause society, we must first solve their problems,” said Nason. “But this can’t be done with today’s fractured efforts. It needs to be exponentially more. And the only way to build a complete solution is to build a complete city.”

“How it Will Work

“Qualified citizens will choose to live in the City and are free to leave at any time. Some might want to stay forever. Others might just need a chance to get back on their feet to reenter society.

“For those that wish to better themselves, or prepare to reenter society, the City will provide counseling and therapy, life skills training, educational services, job training, reentry support services, and more. Every effort will go into creating a place they’ll want to move to and enjoy living at.

“93% Cost Savings

“In 2018, the federal government spent $6.1 billion on the homeless. About 78% of that was spent on the chronic homeless, even though they are only 18% of the entire homeless population. The total budget has increased an average of 7% each year, from 2009 to 2018.

“Most of that spending goes towards addressing the symptoms of homelessness: cleaning up encampments, sterilization of public spaces, hazmat cleanups, salaries for emergency responders, visits to the ER and stays in hospitals, and more.

“But with the City, billions of taxpayer dollars can be saved annually by removing those costs as well as the cost savings from economies of scale being reached by having a single, large-scale solution. For example:

“•  Volume discounts (food, clothes, building materials, etc.)
•  Buying affordable land (1 lot vs. 4,000 lots across America)
•  Dedicated medical team (vs. costs from ambulances, ERs, and private hospitals)
•  Consolidated staff (1 central team vs. spread across America)
•  Utilize technology to increase efficiency (security, access, etc.)
•  And so much more

“Calculations indicate economies of scale can achieve a 93% reduction of what is spent on each unsheltered chronic homeless adult. This results in annual expenditure totals of $455M (based on 100k population), and with cost offsets from manufacturing and service profits, this could drop to $296M per year. With offsets, this equates to per capita rates of $3,000 per year in the City vs. $80,000 with unsheltered chronic homeless.”

Retrieved December 23, 2019 from

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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