WTHR
January 29, 2016 06:15 PM

Not having cash won’t preclude you from giving to panhandlers if people start taking after Abe Hagenston.

Hagenston, who calls himself “Honest Abe,” has been homeless in Detroit, Michigan, for about seven years. Now, he can accept the help of Good Samaritans using a smartphone credit card reader.

“I take VISA, MasterCard, American Express,” Hagenston told WWJ. “I’m the only homeless guy in America who can take a credit card. It’s all done safely and securely through square.com.”

Square’s card readers cost $10, but come with a $10 redemption code. Vendors pay a 2.75 percent fee per transaction.

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Hagenston has recently found another creative way to enhance his survival strategy: He told WWJ that he and a number of other homeless people have organized “like a union” and use shifts to break down everyone’s panhandling schedule. And last spring, he developed a website that accepts donations and connects people looking to hire for odd jobs with homeless city dwellers willing to work.

The Michigan man needs all the help he can get this season as a mild winter causes normally profitable shoveling gigs to wane. “It’s not really that easy, what we’re lacking is snow,” Hagenston said about raising money. “Of course, there’s no snow removal. I used to look forward to that, doing some shoveling.”

Hagenston says he’s determined to use his tech-savvy to help not just himself, but all people experiencing homelessness.

“I’m trying to turn this situation into something that will not only help me but help others,” he told ClickOnDetroit. “Being homeless is my business now.”

CBS Detroit reports that there were around 2,700 homeless people in the city last year.

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