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Codey Goes Undercover To Investigate Homeless Conditions

Former Governor Richard Codey dons a disguise to investigate the conditions for homeless residents.

On Monday night, Jimmy Peters had nowhere to go.  The mentally ill man had just been released from the psychiatric ward of a local hospital.  Dressed in worn out clothes, the bearded man, with tattoos all over his body, set out to find a place to sleep for the night.

State Senator Richard Codey played the role of Jimmy Peters on Monday as he went undercover to determine how a homeless mentally ill resident could survive.  Codey, who served as New Jersey Governor for 14 months in 2004 and 2005, has long been an advocate for the mentally disabled.

NBC News reports that Codey took to the makeup chair for over an hour on Monday to get prepared for the role.  He wore a fake beard and had phony tattoos.  His teeth were made to look tobacco-stained and his face was altered to appear worn and tired.

The State Senator then took to the streets of Newark trying to find a shelter that would accept him for the night.  This task would not prove to be an easy one for Codey as shelter after shelter turned him down.  Most shelters in Newark required their occupants to be officially registered for government assistance.

"To find a place to take you if you're homeless was impossible essentially, unless you're on some government entitlement program," Codey told NBC News.

For fear that this experiment would be a bust, Codey placed a call to Ross Croesmann, a Newark case worker, who helped the former Governor into the Goodwill Goodwill Rescue Mission by 9 p.m.

As Codey told Good Day New York on Wednesday, he was only allowed to stay in the shelter for one night as the occupants are asked to leave by 7 a.m.  He wasn’t able to get a cot, so he was forced to join the other 20 occupants there and sleep on the floor with a bedroll and a blanket.

"For me it was tough, I sleep on my side so by 3 a.m. my hip was hurting," Codey told NBC afterwards.

Bob Davison, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Essex County, told MSNBC that “sometimes you get in, sometimes you don't.”  Both Davison and Codey told the news source that there are more mentally ill out on the street than institutionalized, after recent cutbacks at both state psychiatric hospitals and in the psychiatric wards at community hospitals.

Louis Fontana March 09, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Say this for Senator Codey: he nailed the Chester Arthur look.
Scott Egelberg March 09, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Best comment on this thread!!
barry_geltzeiler March 09, 2012 at 08:38 PM
more like Bea Arthur
Gary Englert March 09, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Hey, the guy's a friend and I admire what he tried to accomplish here but, let's face it....the makeup job is in no danger of winning an Academy Award! :-)
john anthony prignano March 10, 2012 at 04:52 AM
How is writing about verifiable events accusations? Richard Codey said { the story was on Patch } that when he lived in Orange , he used to pull campaign lawn signs out of the ground, and then put back only the signs of his candidate{s} . The Star -Ledger ran a front page article documenting that Codey's biggest campaign contributors are thieves . Codey's brother is a thief . We can easily verify that Codey refused to answer conflict of interest questions regarding his insurance company doing business with New Jersey government entities . His Chief-of-Staff would only say that Codey doesn't do business with Essex County governments or with governments and government entities in nearby counties . When Governor Codey said he would build 10,000 special needs housing units for $200,000,000 people { Steve Lonegan for one } said it is impossible to build housing units in New Jersey for $20,000 each . The $200,000,000 was spent ,...... but only 2,000 units were built . Over budget by 500%. And Codey in no way alleged mismanagement and/or fraud. Do yoy doubt the rubber chicken story ? You don't find Codey's "Undercover make-up job " laughable? I read your profile . YOU certainly make a lot of serious allegations without any accompanying hard evidence . But you know something ? I believe every word you say . Yes Virginia ,there are a lot of bad people in the world .

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