It was a true demonstration of the Christmas spirit. New York City police officer, Lawrence DePrimo gave a supposedly homeless man, Jeffrey Hillman, a pair of sturdy, warm– $75 — Sketchers boots. The story became an instant media sensation.
But things are not always exactly as they seem.
According to New York Daily News, Hillman is not homeless.
With a history of refusing help from family, friends, and the government, it turns out that he actually has an apartment in the Bronx—and has for at least a year.
The apartment is paid for by Section 8 rent vouchers, Social Security disability and veterans benefits, officials said Monday.
But Jeffrey Hillman chooses to sleep on the streets of NYC.
In another odd twist, after this story first viraled across the Internet, Hillman showed up back on the streets — shoeless, once again. Apparently, he hid the boots so they would not be stolen — an indicator of deeper problems.
“They are worth a lot of money—I could lose my life,” he told the New York Times.
Hillman’s brother, Kirk, told the Daily News that his family has not abandoned him. Hillman has simply chosen — for his own, complicated reasons — to live his life in this way.
It is worth noting that many individuals and families are, truly, homeless. They do not choose to sleep on the streets, in their cars, or in shelters when space is available.Bronx Living, Bronx News, Bronx People, homeless, Jeffrey Hillman, law, Lawrence DePrimo, NYPD, The Bronx