Millionaire finds purpose building tiny homes, providing jobs for homeless

Photo of Marcel LeBrun taken by Jeanne Armstrong for CBC.

A Canadian businessman sold his company for eight figures a while ago. But, rather than bask in his wealth, he devised ways to invest it in a much higher purpose.

Marcel LeBrun owned a successful social media monitoring company which he eventually sold to a competitor. The windfall provided him with capital to start a new company to give his life even more purpose and meaning.

He founded 12 Neighbours community in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Plans call for construction of 99 tiny homes and an enterprise center to create shelter and jobs for the city’s homeless population. His new venture completes one home every four days.

“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?” Marcel told CBC.

His initial investment of $4 million of his own money was used to seed an additional $8 million in funding. The money is used to buy materials and provide personal development training to residents.

Each tiny home includes 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, CBC noted.

Not only does Marcel have a heart for the homeless, by giving them ownership of property, he also provides them a new sense of responsibility within a community of people who understand their situation.

The community center Marcel envisions will include a coffee bar that will be run as a business by the residents, as well as a “teaching kitchen,” and a silk printing company where residents will print graphics onto shirts and other items.

The full story can be found on the CBC website.