Homeless man learns to code, launches app


After receiving coding lessons from a helpful Samaritan, a homeless man in New York launches Trees for Cars, a new carpooling app with a focus on saving the environment.

Back in August, programmer Patrick McConlogue offered Leo Grand a choice: $100, or 16 coding lessons. Grand -- homeless since 2011 after losing his job at insurance provider MetLife and being priced out of his home when a high-rise apartment block was built nearby -- didn't have to think for long. Coding lessons it was.

After furnishing Grand with a refurbished Chromebook and three books on coding, McConlogue met with him every weekday morning for an hour-long lesson. Now, Grand has released his very first app: Trees for Cars, available for iOS and Android.

The idea behind the app, Grand said, is to decrease the number of cars on the roads with a eye toward reducing CO2 emissions. Users sign up and specify whether they want to catch a ride or offer one, and the app will connect them with like-minded carpoolers nearby. The app will then track how much CO2 was saved by all the passengers.

Grand wrote every line of code, and all proceeds from the AU$0.99 app sales will go directly to him.

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