In his white doctor's jacket, psychiatrist Flavio Falcone could not get homeless drug addicts to talk.
But costumed as a jester with a bright red nose, he has become an icon in Brazil's "cracolandia," or crackland: a dangerous wasteland of about eight blocks in the historic center of Sao Paulo where addicts twitch and pushers roam.
Left: Jailson Antonio de Oliveira poses for a photograph in his room. Right: Oliveira shows his wrist which is tattooed with the word 'palhaco' - clown in Portuguese.
His work in the neighborhood since 2012 has earned him a loyal following. One man who received addiction help from Falcone tattooed the word "clown" in Portuguese on his wrist.
With government support receding from crackland, Falcone has tried to fill the void.
For Jailson Antonio de Oliveira, 51, Falcone is his main lifeline. The clown's philanthropy effort pays for a room for himself and his girlfriend, even if he can no longer afford meat after the emergency payments ran out.
"Today I have a better life because of Flavio Falcone, the clown," said Oliveira, with clown tattooed on his wrist. "He's my right arm, he helps with everything he can."
PHOTO EDITING MARIKA KOCHIASHVILI; WRITING JAKE SPRING; TEXT EDITING RICHARD CHANG; LAYOUT JULIA DALRYMPLE