Marcel LeBrun, a millionaire entrepreneur from Fredericton, New Brunswick, has taken a bold initiative to combat homelessness in his community. Investing $4 million of his own money, LeBrun founded the project “12 Neighbours,” aiming to build a gated community of 99 tiny homes and an enterprise center. The community not only provides housing but also focuses on job opportunities for its residents.
The Origins of 12 Neighbours: After selling his successful social media monitoring company, LeBrun decided to use his wealth to address homelessness in Fredericton. He envisioned a community of fully-furnished tiny homes, providing a second chance for those experiencing homelessness.
Addressing a Pressing Issue: Homelessness affects around 1,600 individuals in New Brunswick, making it a significant issue. LeBrun’s project aims to make a positive impact by improving the lives of those facing homelessness.
Building a Community: LeBrun sees himself as a community builder and strives to create a supportive environment. The tiny homes are more than shelters; they are fully-furnished living spaces equipped with kitchens, living areas, bedrooms, full bathrooms, and solar panel systems.
Constructing the Homes: LeBrun established a factory where skilled volunteers assemble the homes using advanced manufacturing techniques. The factory produces one tiny home every four business days, and after construction, the homes are placed on concrete blocks, forming the foundation of the community.
The Impact of Ownership: LeBrun believes that homeownership is crucial in offering a sense of responsibility and stability. The project aims to empower its residents by providing them with the opportunity to own their own property.
The Importance of Jobs: Beyond housing, 12 Neighbours focuses on creating job opportunities. The enterprise center features a coffee bar and a silk printing business run by the residents, generating income and fostering community interaction.
Controversy and Criticism: While facing criticism for sequestering homeless individuals together, LeBrun emphasizes the importance of making a meaningful difference. He acknowledges potential challenges but believes in building houses to address the homelessness challenge effectively.
Securing the Community: LeBrun has implemented state-of-the-art security measures within the 12 Neighbours community, including gated entrances and top-notch surveillance, ensuring a safe and protected space for residents.
Despite facing criticism, Marcel LeBrun’s innovative approach to tackling homelessness in Fredericton demonstrates a commitment to making a positive impact on individuals’ lives, providing not only shelter but also the opportunity for a fresh start.