Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Regional Approach in California

With the release of my new book I've had several inquiries from people trying to start a village in various areas throughout the U.S. But California is by far the state I have heard the most from, and this has led to a small Tent City Urbanism Tour scheduled for Northern California. Locations include:

  • November 10 — Nevada City, CA
  • November 11 — Martinez, CA
  • November 15 — Humboldt County, CA

While there has been significant interest, the concept has not been an easy sell in the state so far. Projects like the Santa Cruz Sanctuary Village have faced significant resistance, particularly from a blog called However, the idea that the congregation of homeless people automatically warrants concerns of increased crime has already been disproven by our experience at Opportunity Village:

“It has gone better than I thought it would," said Lt. Eric Klinko of the Eugene Police Department, "(The village) has not been a burden to the neighborhood in terms of a crime impact.”

But an even more common argument is the magnet theory—the idea that by opening a project like this swarms of homeless folks from other areas will descend on that town. This concern seems to be intensified by the attractive setting and temperate climate of California.

California = largest homeless population in U.S.

While I hope to debunk the magnet theory in a more comprehensive fashion in a future post, my hope is that by taking a regional approach in California, we will be able to demonstrate that these are not unique burdens, but that several cities within a close proximity are trying to do very similar things, and that they can be an asset rather than a band-aid. A collective approach to a common cause.

Any other areas in California interested in joining in? Other states?


  1. Sarasota needs this!

    1. Interesting article.. sounds like a good opportunity for a village or even a rest area like R2DToo in Portland. Would cost a lot less than $3-9 million too.

  2. NJ's homeless population is increasing. Tent City of Lakewood NJ brutally closed in June of 2014. There is no shelter in Ocean County.