Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 162
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 162
 
safe from the hold-up man and the recruiting thief. Though the latter often gives the police the Bleecker Street house as his permanent address on the principle that makes the impecunious seeker of a job conduct his correspondence from the Fifth Avenue Hotel or the Savoy, he is rarely found there, and if found, is not kept long. If he does get in, he is quiet and harmless because he has to be. Crooks in action seek crooked houses kept by crooked men, and they find them along the Bowery more readily than anywhere. There are the shows and the resorts that draw the young lads, who, away from home, are all too easily drawn, to their undoing. The getting them out of their latitude is the greatest gain, and this service the Mills House performs, to a salutary extent. The more readily since its fame has gone abroad, and the Mills House has become a type. There is scarcely a mail now that does not bring me word from some city in the West or East that a Mills House has been started there in the effort to grapple with the problem of the floating population. The fear that their reputation may help increase that problem by drawing greater crowds from the country is rather strained, it seems to me. The objection would lie against free shelters, but hardly against a business concern that simply strives to give the poor lodger his money’s worth. As to him, the

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