Millionaire Builds Nearly 100 Houses for the Homeless in His Town
Homelessness remains a persistent challenge worldwide, affecting cities of all sizes. Despite efforts by governments, NGOs, and various organizations, a lasting solution has proven elusive. In Fredericton, New Brunswick, a Canadian millionaire, Marcel LeBrun, decided to address this issue personally.
Marcel LeBrun, founder of a successful social media monitoring company, redirected his wealth to make a positive impact on his community after selling his business. Recognizing the homelessness crisis in Fredericton, he conceptualized “12 Neighbours,” envisioning a gated community comprising 99 tiny homes and an enterprise center. His goal was to offer both housing and job opportunities, creating a second chance for individuals in need.
Homelessness affects approximately 1,600 people in New Brunswick, and LeBrun saw an opportunity to make a difference. His vision for 12 Neighbours goes beyond providing shelter; it aims to create a supportive environment by offering fully-furnished living spaces with amenities like kitchens, living areas, bedrooms, full bathrooms, and solar panel systems on the roofs.
Recognizing the importance of homeownership, LeBrun believes it instills a sense of responsibility and stability. 12 Neighbours empowers its residents by providing the opportunity to own their property, fostering a supportive community environment.
To ensure the safety of the 12 Neighbours community, LeBrun has implemented state-of-the-art security measures, including gated entrances and top-notch surveillance. This approach provides residents with a safe and protected space.
LeBrun established a factory where skilled volunteers assemble the homes using advanced manufacturing techniques. The construction process, producing one tiny home every four business days, results in fully furnished living spaces. These homes are carefully placed on concrete blocks, forming the foundation of the 12 Neighbours community.
In addition to housing, 12 Neighbours focuses on job creation through an enterprise center within the community. Residents run a coffee bar and silk printing business, generating income and promoting interaction between residents and the broader community.
Despite its noble intentions, 12 Neighbours has faced criticism, with some arguing for the direct reintegration of homeless individuals into society. LeBrun acknowledges these concerns and emphasizes the need to address the unique challenges faced by those who have experienced homelessness.