James Brady found a bank envelope with $850 cash inside while walking in Hackensack on April 16, The Record, Hackensack, N.J., reported.
Brady said he struggled with deciding whether to keep it or turn it in to police, and ultimately did the right thing.
"Even though I was homeless, I thought there are people out there who could be worse off," said Brady, 59. "I had my mother's voice in my head: 'It's not yours.'"
Then on Friday, Brady went back to the police headquarters to pick up the cash that no one claimed during the six-month holding period for lost property.
Brady said he had a few plans for the money: a sandwich, a bath mat, and a new pair of sneakers.
Brady became homeless several years ago after developing a severe depression following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks -- he was supposed to be at a finance and technology exposition that day at the World Trade Center that day but canceled at the last minute.
In July, he received a housing voucher to cover a one bedroom apartment in Hackensack.
Julia Orlando, director of the county's Housing, Health and Human Services Center in Hackensack, said she wasn't surprised by Brady's good deed.
"He told me about it," Orlando said. "He wanted people to know that homeless people are also good, decent and honest."