Homeless Joe of NYC dead at 56 FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Mon, 24 May 1999 04:55:19 -0700 (PDT)


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/1999/05/22/national053
5EDT0499.DTL&type=printable

May 22, 1999

HOMELESS JOE

NEW YORK (AP) -- A man known as Joe Homeless who spent more than a decade
living on the streets of New York City and had his story published, died
Tuesday of heart failure at age 56.

The man used Joe Homeless as a pen name and, according to friends, did not
want his real name known. He died at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital,
according to George McDonald, president of The Doe Fund, Inc., a nonprofit
organization that assists homeless people.

Using a tape recorder he had fished out of the trash, Joe Homeless dictated
his story while still living on the streets. The tapes were later
transcribed and published by New Horizon Press under the title, ``My Life
on the Streets.''

``He guarded his privacy jealously,'' said friend Julie Weiner, a health
counselor who first met Joe in the late 1980's.

She would pass him in the mornings -- she on her way to work at a Manhattan
hospital, he in the cardboard box at 77th and Lexington Ave.

``First he asked me for a quarter. Then he said, 'Hey, you know any
typists?''' Weiner said. That caught her attention. Weiner, along with
several other volunteers, later helped him transcribe the tapes.

According to his own account, Joe grew up on the Lower East Side of
Manhattan, and was evicted from his parents apartment in 1979, some 10
years after they had died.

A few years before his death, Joe was able to turn things around, and used
his mechanical skills to start his own refrigeration repair business,
according to the Doe Fund.

In a 1990 interview with Newsday Magazine he said: ``Most homeless people
don't live too long, and most of them are not what you see on the streets
or in the shelters -- they are in Potter's Field, in the graveyard.''

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