Homeless Man in NYPD Photo Might Not Actually Be Homeless
News about a homeless man receiving boots from an NYPD officer as captured in a touching photo by a tourist in New York City continues to emerge. The latest suggests he isn’t technically homeless after all.
TheBlaze first reported about the photo last week. On Monday, the man had been identified as Jeffrey Hillman, and although grateful for the gift, he was not wearing the shoes because he feared for his safety due to their expense. Not only that but he was asking for his “piece of the pie” due to the fame the photo had gotten without his permission.
The New York Daily News on Tuesday reported it found out that Hillman has an apartment in the Bronx, which is paid through federal assistance. As the Daily News puts it, “The revelation that Hillman has a warm home and a bed to sleep in further complicated what at first seemed like a perfect feel-good tale for the holidays.”
It reported Barbara Brancaccio, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Homeless Services, saying he “has a history of turning down services.”
Hillman in the past had been in housing provided by the city for the chronically homeless. He later received housing through the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to Brancaccio.
The Daily News reported a friend from Hillman’s past, Rev. John Graf Jr., saying he was surprised when he learned of the state of his high school buddy’s life.
“I never thought I’d open up a newspaper and see that the guy I played with in my own backyard swimming pool, and in high school games would be on the streets of New York,” Graf said to the Daily News.
Graf has established Jeffrey Hillman Survivors Fund to help his long-time friend, telling the Daily News “I’m not just going to sit back and let him be another homeless person.”
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