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NJ St. Sen. Dick Codey Goes Undercover At Homeless Shelter

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St. Sen. Dick Codey (file / credit: NJ Legislature)

St. Sen. Dick Codey (file / credit: NJ Legislature)

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NEWARK, NJ (CBSNewYork) - Former New Jersey Governor and current State Senator Dick Codey shed his suit and slipped into a dirty hooded sweatshirt to go undercover at a homeless shelter.

LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Steve Scott With Dick Codey

He wore a fake beard, phony tattoos, and had a makeup artist make his teeth look tobacco-stained and his face as worn as old leather.

Looking every bit down-and-out, Codey spent Monday night at the Goodwill Mission in Newark.

He slept in a room with 20 other men.

The Senator said his four-month probe revealed a broken system in which shelters don’t want to help the mentally ill and those not receiving public assistance.

“If you’re a male and you’re not on the government program your odds of getting any kind of shelter at night are almost zero, “Codey told 1010 WINS.

When he went undercover, Codey said he received a small bed roll — about an inch thick — and a thin blanket.

“Then you’re told, ‘Lie down on the floor and go to sleep,’” Codey said. “I think people deserve more dignity in life than what I saw.”

The Goodwill Mission denies those allegations and the director actually applauds the Senator’s efforts.

Codey says this wasn’t about scoring political points, but was about shedding a light on the forgotten.

This isn’t the first time Codey has done something like this. Years ago, he went undercover and spent the night in a mental hospital.

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