No spare change? Homeless panhandler accepts credit card donations too
Detroit man runs a website about his panhandling operation from a local library
If you don't have any spare change to give Detroit homeless man Abe Hagenston, that's no problem. He takes credit card donations too.
The 42-year-old panhandles by the Eight Mile Road overpass of Highway I-75, and has been homeless for about a decade.
In that time, he's grown tired of people telling him that they didn't have any change to give.
"People don't realize how tough it is to come from nothing when you don't have any family or any friends," Hagenston told WDIV, an NBC affiliate in Detroit.
So now Hagenston takes credit card handouts through a donated smartphone with the Square card reader, which takes MasterCard, Visa and American Express. The reader looks a small white box that attaches to a smartphone. It takes a percentage out of every transaction.
It's not clear how successful his approach has been.
Meanwhile, he's also doing a callout for odd jobs on his website, which he operates from a public library, according to CBS.
"I have never had the benefit of being assisted. I have always found myself in the wrong demographic, ineligible for assistance other than food stamps, having to struggle when I could have been making progress," he wrote on his website about why he's decided to take panhandling digital.
"I have never even heard of a homeless program (let alone seen one) that actually presented itself as a viable pick-you-up."
The website, which has its own newsletter to ensure readers stay up to date, has been successful in helping him find work.
"I've done some painting," he told NBC News. "I've taken some other guys out on team jobs where I needed a couple extra guys to carry some things."
Hagenston, who also goes by "Honest Abe," can usually rely on odd jobs shovelling snow, but with the mild winter, he hasn't had much work.
"I used to look forward to that, doing some shovelling," Hagenston told CBS Detroit.
Hagenston has posted a few videos on YouTube showing what life is like for him when it comes to dealing with winter and personal hygiene.
As for how he intends to keep revenue coming in long term, he wrote on his website that he has a plan to develop an app to catch "fake homeless people" and will distribute revenue from his donations to other homeless people.
Detroit had about 15,717 homeless people in 2014, according to a report by the Homeless Action Network of Detroit.