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Millionaire builds 99 tiny homes to help his community



In a heartwarming endeavor to address the homelessness crisis, Canadian entrepreneur Marcel LeBrun, founder of the successful social media monitoring company, is using his substantial wealth to create a community of tiny homes that promises to change the lives of those most in need. After selling his company for a significant eight-figure sum to an American competitor, LeBrun's commitment to combating homelessness in his city of Fredericton is both inspirational and impactful.


LeBrun's vision has taken the form of the "12 Neighbours" project, an ambitious initiative aimed at providing shelter, support, and a second chance to the city's homeless population. The project is located in the heart of Fredericton and consists of 99 tiny homes, each meticulously designed to offer residents a comfortable and dignified living space.


LeBrun, who invested $4 million of his own funds into the project, is a passionate advocate for his community. He stated, "I see myself as a community builder, and really what we're doing here is not just building a little community, but we're building a community in a city, like how do we help our city be better?"


The 12 Neighbours community is well on its way to completion, with three-quarters of the tiny homes already built. The project has also received significant support from provincial and national governments, totaling $12 million in grants, which will aid in the realization of LeBrun's vision.


Each of the tiny homes offers residents a fully equipped kitchen, a cozy living area, a comfortable bedroom, and a complete bathroom. To ensure sustainability, the homes are equipped with solar panels on their roofs, providing an eco-friendly energy source. The exterior of these tiny homes is adorned with aesthetically pleasing paint, making them both functional and visually appealing.


LeBrun's approach to addressing homelessness involves providing not just a roof over people's heads but also a sense of ownership and responsibility. He believes that by creating a close-knit community, residents can support each other in their journey towards stability and self-sufficiency. However, some critics argue that integrating homeless individuals back into society might be more effective than sequestering them. LeBrun, aware of the potential challenges, has implemented state-of-the-art security measures to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents.


Samantha Seymour, one of the residents at 12 Neighbours, shared her thoughts on the security measures, saying, "I live right behind the security gates. There were cars coming in all the time, at three o'clock in the morning, waking me up. The gates have set boundaries."


Beyond providing shelter, the 12 Neighbours community also features an enterprise center, offering residents opportunities to learn new skills and engage in business ventures. One notable addition is a coffee bar that will be run as a business by the residents themselves. The enterprise center also includes a "teaching kitchen" and a silk printing business where residents like Seymour have the chance to gain employment, printing texts and graphics onto shirts and tote bags.


The enterprise center aims to make 12 Neighbours not only a place of residence but a vibrant community that welcomes residents and visitors alike. Whether it's for a cup of coffee or to avail of printing services, LeBrun's vision is to create a supportive environment where people can come together and work towards a brighter future.


In a world where homelessness remains a pressing issue, Marcel LeBrun's 12 Neighbours project serves as a shining example of how the dedication and generosity of one individual can have a profound impact on a community in need. As the tiny homes continue to take shape, the future looks brighter for the residents of Fredericton who will call this innovative community their home.


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