Millionaire Builds Community for the Homeless in Canada

After selling his company for eight figures to a competitor, Marcel LeBrun is using his profit to build a community of tiny homes for those who need it most. In Fredericton, Canada, his factory is churning out 1 tiny home every 4 business days in order to create the 12 Neighbors gated community of 99 homes and an enterprise center to give local homeless people a real second chance.

He has invested $4 million dollars of his own money on the project to build these homes. With grants and support from the provincial and national government, the 12 Neighbors community has received $12 million in total.

The tiny homes have all the necessities: a full-service kitchen, living and bedroom areas, and a full bathroom. They each have a small deck, solar panels on the roofs, and an aesthetically pleasing coat of paint.

They were pre-built in a warehouse in which LaBrun employs skilled volunteers to assemble the homes which are then moved by heavy machinery onto concrete blocks that make up the foundation.

While LaBrun believes the problem of tackling homelessness isn’t as hard as people make it out to be, he does have a particular strategy in mind—namely welcoming those who may suffer from any of the maladies that homelessness is generally accompanied by to a place where ownership of property can give them a new sense of responsibility, and a community of people who understand what they are going through.

The millionaire understands the baggage, emotional and societal, that some of the residents may bring along, so the 12 Neighbours community is equipped with state-of-the-art security and gates to stop unwelcome visitors.

Along with the houses, the community comes with an enterprise center, where a coffee bar will be run as a business by the residents is being put in, in addition to a “teaching kitchen,” and a silk printing business where Seymour has a job printing texts and graphics onto shirts and totes and things.

Part of the idea with the enterprise center is to make 12 Neighbors a community that people can visit for a cup of coffee or for a good deal on shirt printing.

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2 thoughts on “Millionaire Builds Community for the Homeless in Canada”

  1. Definitely a promising idea! I could also see the tiny house subdivision format as an alternative to group homes for the neurologically disabled! This would provide far more freedom, independence and privacy than the group home paradigm, while still allowing assistance with certain activities of daily living (mainly the more complex ADLs like cooking, transportation and money management [this really wouldn’t be for those that need kilotons of assistance with things like dressing and toileting]).
    And for those on low incomes, disabled or not, the feeling of having a stake in the game would undoubtedly lead to these tiny house communities remaining more well maintained and far less crime ridden than traditional public housing projects or homeless shelters, thus leading to a much better quality of life for those on low incomes.


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