Maniac slept in the deer pen at the Elmwood Park Zoo for the first few nights he was in Two Mills.
Maniac ran away from home after his parents died and he was sent to live with an aunt and uncle who fought constantly. Maniac wanted a family and a home, however. He did not want to be a kid on the streets forever. Since running away, all he wanted was an address.
What he did have was the deer shed at the Elmwood Park Zoo, which is where he slept his first few nights in town. What the deer ate, especially the carrots, apples, and day-old hamburger buns, he ate. (Ch. 8)
Maniac is an interesting kid. He takes people as they come, and makes friends easily because he is compassionate and curious. When he meets Amanda Beale, he is immediately enamored of her book collection. Before he knows it, he has been invited to live with her and her family.
Before Maniac could go to sleep, however, there was something he had to do. [He] opened the front door and looked at the three cast-iron digits nailed to the door frame: seven two eight. … Maniac Magee finally had an address. (Ch. 12)
This is wonderful for Maniac Jeffrey Magee. The Beales are a good wholesome family. Amanda is a good friend, and her parents are caring and supportive. She has younger siblings, but even that doesn’t bother Jeffrey. The problem is race. Jeffrey is white, and Amanda and her family are black. Although this is nothing to Jeffrey, and apparently doesn't matter much to the Beales, it bothers enough people in town that they run Maniac out.
After Maniac leaves the Beale house, he goes back to the zoo. He has no other place to go. The deer have been replaced with buffalo! That is where Grayson, the groundskeeper, finds Manaic. He has been sleeping in the buffalo pen. Grayson is a bit shocked, but he soon learns Maniac is an unusual kid. Maniac has a family again for awhile.