FOLSOM (CBS13) — A Folsom man thinks he’s got the answer to the homeless problem: build a $3 billion city, just for them.
Duane Nason with Citizens Again says he sees the problem clearly.
“We still have about 60,000 chronic homeless living on the streets, and so from the numbers form the last 10 years, it’s going to take 200 years to house all of them,” Nason said.
Instead of building 4,000 more shelters, Nason wants to build an entire city to house America’s homeless. The project won’t be cheap.
Swipe through renderings from Nason’s proposed all-inclusive homeless city.
“I estimate it’s going to cost about $3 billion to build the city, and right now every year we spend about $6 billion on homelessness in general,” Nason said.
He says his idea will be quicker and cost less than current efforts. A mathematician by trade, he left the corporate world to launch Citizens Again.
Nason says the all-inclusive private city still needs a location to be built.
“I’ve looked at a couple of different locations in California. It’s going to have to be in a moderate climate, probably somewhat of a flatland. I’m going to need about 300 acres,” he said.
The idea is getting some mixed reviews from his home base in Folsom.
“It could bring down property values. People don’t want that in their backyard. They want to help, but they don’t want it in their backyard,” Mike Lucio said.
But Nason says the city would be desirable to its potential residents.
“I need to provide an overwhelming desire for them to want to live here and that’s why I’m going to have an abundance of amenities,” Nason said.
He says the city would include TV pods, cafeterias, underground tunnels, and more. Residents would live in dorm-room style housing in 16-story buildings with five wings per floor. Every neighborhood would have an arcade, and it will all be free to the homeless.
“Definitely it’s an ambitious project. There’s never been anything like this in the history of the country. This is going to be very something very massive. It’s going to require a lot of people to work together on this,” Nason said.
Right now, he’s working alone and says he needs $50,000 to get off the ground. Nason says crowdfunding is slow.
“I’ve just started this week with the crowdfunding and it’s about $485 as of today,” he said.
He’s been planning for two years and said he does have moderate support.
“I think it’s a good idea. There’s a lot of talk about the homeless and them spreading themselves out. Having one central location would be a good idea,” Alyssa Kavanaugh said.
Nason says he’s relying on philanthropy and donations to get the project off the ground but he plans to get the government to contribute when it is fully operational.
He also plans to have residents work jobs to keep costs down and manageable.