Detroit Panhandler Accepts Credit Cards

'Being homeless is my business now'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2016 6:05 PM CST
Abe Hagenston welcomes visitors to his website, where you can donate to him and other Detroit panhandlers or hire them for odd jobs.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – It's been a mild winter in Detroit, which means less snow for Abe Hagenston to shovel, and he could certainly use the income, CBS Detroit reports. Instead, Hagenston—who's been homeless for a decade—used his free time to set up a website and buy a credit-card reader, according to CNN. “Being homeless is my business now,” the 42-year-old tells WDIV. “My business is being homeless.” CBS reports the card reader from Square costs about $10 and works with any smartphone. It means Hagenston now accepts Visa, MasterCard, and American Express while panhandling, so people who tell him they don't have any change need a new excuse.

Visitors to Hagenston's website get a welcome video from "Honest Abe" and can make donations to him or other homeless people who've signed up on the site or hire them for odd jobs, CNN reports. According to WDIV, Hagenston updates the site at the public library. "I’ve rebuilt my life a few times," he says. "People don’t realize how tough it is to come from nothing when you don’t have any family or any friends." In addition to the website and card reader, Hagenston is trying to organize fellow panhandlers "like a union," CBS reports. (Read more homeless stories.)

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