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Viral photo: Man was shoeless, but not homeless

5:00 PM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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In cyberspace, he became known as the nameless-shoeless-homeless man for whom kindhearted police officer Laurence Deprimo bought a pair of boots.

However, Jeremy Hillman is not homeless. He has an apartment in the Bronx and a social-security income.

"We've worked with Mr. Hillman for years, and he was the product of our compassionate persistence," Seth Diamond with New York City's Department of Homeless Services said.

New York officials say their homeless outreach teams help Mr. Hillman get off the streets back in 2009, then into his own apartment in 2011 when he received a special lifetime. 

"We've taken over 3,500 people off streets since 2007 and over 90 percent of them remain successfully housed," Diamond said.

Despite his ongoing shoeless ventures into Times Square, Mr. Hillman remains housed, according to city officials. 

Officials say they think he may have mental health or substance-abuse issues leading to why he is so often shoeless.

(Copyright © 2012 NBC Universal, All Rights Reserved)

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