Homelessness is a critical issue that plagues cities of all sizes across the globe. While efforts by governments, NGOs, and various organizations are in motion, solutions remain elusive.
One Canadian millionaire, however, took it upon himself to make a difference in his community. Marcel LeBrun, an entrepreneur from Fredericton, New Brunswick, used his wealth to combat homelessness and create job opportunities. Let’s delve into the inspiring story of Marcel LeBrun and his project, 12 Neighbours.
Building Hope, One Home at a Time
In Fredericton, a million-dollar venture is underway to address homelessness and provide safe, stable housing for those in need.
Marcel LeBrun, the founder of a successful social media monitoring company, has invested $4 million of his own money to construct 99 tiny homes for the homeless.
These tiny homes not only offer shelter but also come furnished with kitchens, living areas, bedrooms, full bathrooms, and even solar panel systems on the roofs.
Creating a Community of Possibilities
LeBrun’s vision for 12 Neighbours extends beyond housing – it’s about building a supportive community.
The project aims to create a gated community consisting of 99 homes, an enterprise center, and job opportunities. Beyond shelter, LeBrun believes that homeownership plays a vital role in providing stability and a sense of responsibility to those who have experienced homelessness.
The Power of Employment Opportunities
12 Neighbours is not just about housing; it’s about creating job opportunities for its residents.
The project includes an enterprise center featuring a coffee bar and a silk printing business, all operated by the residents themselves. This not only generates income but also encourages interaction between the residents and the broader community, fostering a sense of belonging and purpose.
Like any ambitious project, 12 Neighbours has faced its fair share of criticism. Some argue that integrating homeless individuals directly into society is a better approach than creating a separate community for them.
However, LeBrun understands the potential challenges involved. He has taken measures to ensure the security and well-being of the community, implementing state-of-the-art security measures including gated entrances and top-notch surveillance.
A Safe Haven for Hope
“[The resident] moves into a house and then other people show up and say, ‘Hey, you owe me this, you owe me that,’ and they kind of take over things and they have to learn, what does it mean to have a space where you are actually the manager of that space, and you control it … and you choose who you invite in and out?
So, that’s a challenge,” LeBrun explains regarding some of the challenges residents face. The 12 Neighbours community provides a safe and protected space, allowing individuals to regain control of their lives and cultivate a sense of ownership.
Rebuilding Lives, One Success Story at a Time
Through the impactful efforts of Marcel LeBrun and his team, 12 Neighbours is making strides in combating homelessness and creating opportunities for those who need it the most.
The project stands as a model of innovation and compassion, demonstrating the profound impact individuals can have in their communities. Marcel LeBrun’s dedication and determination serve as an inspiration to us all, reminding us that together, we can make a difference.