Famous 'Barefoot Homeless Man' Has an Apartment
NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo handing boots to Jeffrey Hillman. via Huffington Post, courtesy of Jennifer Foster
Late last month, NYC tourist, Jennifer Foster spotted a man sitting on a NYC street, barefoot and blistered. She was about to hand the man, known well as Jeffrey Hillman, some spare change. What happened next changed his life forever.
Before Foster could reach him, NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo knelt down next to Hillman and asked why he didn't have any shoes on.
"I never had a pair of shoes," Hillman replied.
It was freezing outside and DePrimo said the blisters on Hillman's feet "were the size of his palm," in a CNN interview yesterday. DePrimo bought Hillman a pair of boots with his own money--a gesture that has gone viral, popping up all over Huffington Post, The NYTimes, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere.
Not much time went by before Hillman was spotted barefoot again in the cold weather. Hillman has made it clear he is grateful for DePrimo's generosity, but he hid the boots for his safety. He said they were very valuable, and if he was careless, he could lose his life. The bleak situation nearly overshadowed DePrimo's act of kindness, but a bit of good news was reported yesterday by CNN. According to the article by Khara Lewin, Jeffrey Hillman has an apartment.
Thanks to the Housing and Urban Development's Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, Hillman, being a veteran, has an apartment in the Bronx. Seth Diamond, commissioner of the New York City Department of Homeless Services, said that Hillman has "been on the city radar for years," and that at times Hillman is cooperative, while at others, he is "restive." Which is apparently not atypical for most cases.
Diamond had this final, hopeful comment about Hillman's situation:
"Mr. Hillman needs to be living a better and healthier life. We have incredibly dedicated people who do not take no for an answer. We just have to keep at it." -CNN.com
VIDEO of Officer DePrimo re-telling the story of buying Hillman his first pair of boots: