It’s a secret because homelessness is the one condition they find shameful. An inner-city hustler’s entire life is devoted to either rising above his station or projecting the illusion of same. So when the drug abuse or prison term or unemployability send him into the street, he needs a hiding place. Homeless shelters are a place for him to hide his shame. What I discovered at various shelters in New York City is that they are also the place where hustling goes into overdrive.