For a long time, Marcel Lebrun knew he had to do something about homelessness. Today, he is doing it. In doing so, he is tackling one of the most difficult problems society faces by helping those suffering on the streets build better lives for themselves. As a result of his efforts, 500 homeless people now have a second chance at life.

After selling his software company for eight figures, Lebrun and his wife invested $4 million of their own money to found 12 Neighbors, an organization designed to bring real solutions to chronically homeless people. This organization is now producing a prefabricated house in a warehouse every four days as part of a project that will help 500 homeless people in New Brunswick, Canada.

Each tiny home comes with a full-service kitchen, living and bedroom areas, and a full bathroom. Each house also has solar panels on the roof and a small deck. Residents will pay only 30% of their income to live there.

But 12 Neighbors doesn’t just provide a house. They also provide jobs and skills for the residents. Residents can work at an on-site coffee bar, a “teaching kitchen,” and a silk printing business that produces shirts, t-shirts, and various other items.

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Taken together, these businesses and learning opportunities comprise an enterprise center that will not only improve the residents’ income and help them learn job skills but will also connect them to the rest of the city, as people will want to visit to enjoy the coffee and to do business with the printing company.

Lebrun told CBC, “I see myself as a community builder, and really what we’re doing here is not just building a little community but building a community in a city, like how do we help our city be better?”

While these efforts are designed to link residents to the community, there is also a gate at the entrance and security cameras to ensure the safety of the residents. One resident, Samantha Seymour, explains the importance of the gates. “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.”

Lebrun’s tiny home solution is part of a larger trend that has recently been adopted throughout North America. Similar tiny home communities have been built for this purpose in Los Angeles, Detroit, and Austin.

While 12 Neighbors currently plans to build 99 homes. Lebrun has said there could be as many as 200 homes in the neighborhood one day. Federal and provincial grants have added another $8 million to the project, a number that, when added to the couples’ investment, brings the total to $12 million.

1,600 residents in New Brunswick reported being homeless for at least one day. The actions of Marcel Lebrun have put a major dent in the number of chronically homeless people in his city, proving without a doubt that something can be done.