Homeless man learns to code, looks to life beyond the streets

In this Facebook photo, Leo Grand is seen promoting his new app Trees for Cars.

Leo Grand's new carpooling app is ready for download.

Some online writers are asking us all to buy it, whether we need it or not.

This is why:

In mid-August, a young programmer named Patrick McConlogue approached Grand, who has been homeless in Manhattan since he got laid off in 2011. McConlogue, 23, offered Grand a choice: he could take $100 or he could learn how to code.

Grand, 37, took McConlogue up on the second offer and began 16 weeks of coding lessons with him.

Thousands of people followed Grand's story.

"It is by far the most rewarding experience of my life," McConlogue said of teaching his new friend a valuable skill.

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After daily lessons — including five weeks of working with McConlogue full-time — Grand is finally ready to reveal the carpooling app he developed: Trees for Cars.

"This is going to change my life in a magnificent way," Grand told Mashable shortly after the launch.

Watch Grand describe the app below.

Dan Lyons encouraged HubSpot readers to buy the $0.99 app, regardless of their need for it.

"If we all work together we can create an incredible ending for this story. We can help a homeless man get off the streets and back on his feet. We can, in fact, give Leo Grand the best Christmas ever," he wrote.

He continued:

"Doesn’t matter if you’ll never use the app. That’s not the point. The point is that this guy is a hero and deserves our support. The point is that it only costs 99 cents to let Leo Grand know that you admire what he’s done. Because here's the thing. Despite all his hard work, Leo Grand is still homeless. He's living under an awning in New York. Nobody has offered a job."

McConlogue believes that Grand has the potential to soon find work as a programmer.

"This is his path out. If all goes well, he can get enough money to go back to school," he said.

Grand told Mashable that he hopes to land a job as a computer programmer as soon as possible.

"My first application will be at Google," Grand said. "It's right up the block."

McConlogue recently wrote a post for TechCrunch, asking 10 programmers to volunteer two months of their time to teaching others to code.

So far, 150 coders have signed up.