Leo Grand doesn’t fit the typical archetype of an environmentalist. Despite having unveiled his car-sharing app, Trees for Cars, to the world last Tuesday, Grand has been sleeping on the streets of New York City for over two years. But Leo’s homelessness, which was triggered by a job loss in 2011, didn’t overpower his desire to make the world a better place. So when he was offered an opportunity to turn his situation around and curb pollution in the process, he couldn’t refuse.

homeless nyc man builds app, homeless coder, leo grand, homeless environmentalist, Patrick Mcconlogue, education and coding, green mobile apps, environmental smart phone apps, environmental apps for smart phones, carpooling, car sharing, car pollution, carbon emissions

Grand’s story began this past August when he was approached by Patrick McConlogue, a professional software developer, who offered him $100 or a laptop and an opportunity to learn how to code. Grand, as you might have guessed, chose the latter. “Instantly, my mind said door number two,” he told CNN. A refurbished Google Chrome Book and sixteen coding lessons later, Trees for Cars was born.

The app, available for less than a dollar, connects drivers and riders in an effort to spur carpooling and curb CO2 emissions. Users can download the app on their mobile devices, find rides in their area, save money and help the environment.

Every line of code for Trees for Cars was written by Grand, who spent an hour a week learning programming languages from McConlogue. All profits earned from the sale of the app go directly to Grand, who has plans to secure an apartment for himself with his earnings. According to a post on McConlogue’s Facebook Page documenting Grand’s Trees for Cars journey, the app has arranged 242 routes for 607 commuters and has saved over 4 tons of greenhouse gas emissions since last week.

Download the Trees for Cars app for $0.99 on iPhone and Android here.

Via LA Times

+ Trees for Cars

Images via McConlogue Facebook Page