Barefoot NYC Man Isn't Homeless
Veterans program secured housing for Jeffrey Hillman since 2009
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2012 2:34 AM CST
Updated Dec 4, 2012 6:00 AM CST
NYPD officer Larry DePrimo presents Hillman with new boots in Times Square.   (AP Photo/Jennifer Foster)

(Newser) – Looks like Jeffrey Hillman's problems are a lot more complicated than mere shoelessness: The 54-year-old panhandler given new shoes by an NYPD officer and seen barefoot again days later used to be homeless, but has had an apartment in the Bronx secured by Veterans Affairs since 2009, officials tell NBC 4. "He does have stable housing," says New York City's homeless services commissioner. "We’ve worked with Mr. Hillman for years."

"I understand why it could be frustrating for New Yorkers," he continues. "They see a person in this situation and they think no one has been helping. Outreach teams continue to try to work with him, but he has a history of turning down services." Hillman's rent is paid via a lifetime voucher for homeless veterans and his Social Security; officials confirm he still lives in the apartment. Homeless experts say they hope Hillman's story won't detract from the officer's act of kindness or stop others from helping the homeless. "Shelter and a pair of shoes are a start, but easy access to quality services is critical to helping people reclaim their lives and not just simply have a bed," the director of an outreach group says.

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Dec 5, 2012 9:43 AM CST
The Police Officer's heart is good and that is all that matters with this story. Like the GOOD officer, I have been duped by MANY in my lifetime like this panhandler. HOWEVER, I am so fortunate by God's Grace...I have experience on both sides. I was once an 8 year old lad, the receptient of a Salvation Army Christmas basketball as a present among groceries when living in rural Arkansas. I have never forgotten that good deed of love. Thus, in the past 50 years I have tried to make it a better Christmas for others. Like I said, I have been duped by several and it dissapoints me. BUT, those whom I have assisted with a good heart as the officer, has been my life's best rewards. Merry Chistmas to this GOOD New York City Police Officer....2poor
Dec 4, 2012 11:12 PM CST
This joker is a fraud and should be in jail. I do not care if he is vet. I like I always be suspicious of these panhandlers when I see them here in Spokane, Wa. I served my country for 20 years and you do not see me standing on the corner.
Dec 4, 2012 9:12 PM CST
So I guess the government isn't as inept as it appears to be and all the cost cutting isn't as warranted as some people in Congress seem to think.