Friday, December 7, 2012

Report Follows Up on NYPD Officer and Homeless Man

I remember seeing on Facebook the picture of the NYPD police officer who gave the homeless man a pair of boots. The story moved me, and I learned more watching this video at CNN with story. Officer Lawrence DePrimo, who's received lots of attention for helping the man, said it was very cold; he saw Jeffrey Hillman's blistered feet and wanted to help him. He asked about buying him socks, and ended up buying him boots.

Hillman's brother said that Jeffrey's been on the streets for years, but some New York agency says he has an apartment. This story has become very complicated. I wish I had time to write more. In my own city, New Orleans, I intend to do more.  (If you're near New Orleans, consider helping the New Orleans Street Exchange, a nonprofit running a literacy training program to help individuals in the homeless community.)

CNN also ran an opinion piece by Frida Ghitis in which the writer says,
"The shoes help; the cash helps. But the more effective act of generosity, the real miracle, would come if the millions looking at the picture of the generous police officer trying to help a man in need wrote the perfect Chapter 3, pushing for better mental health services, more affordable housing, more job training. For enough attention from the government to those who need it most."
According to Ghitis and the NYC authorities, Hillman is a veteran. He has benefits, but it seems he is not mentally present enough to use his benefits.

If you're aware of this story, then you may recall that it began when Jennifer Foster of Florence, Arizona, posted a photo of the officer helping Hillman on her Facebook page. Read more here.

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