Homeless man in Detroit accepts credit cards, offers work on odd-jobs

'Honest Abe' says being homeless is his business

DETROIT – He takes Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

Abe Hagenston, 42, is homeless and those who tell him they don’t have any change need a new excuse. Hagenston takes credit cards.

He’s been on the street for 10 years and goes by the name “Honest Abe." Drivers caught at the light at Woodward Avenue and 8 Mile Road have probably seen him working the corner.

He takes credit card donations using a square that connects with his phone.

“I’ve rebuilt my life a few times but this time I’m not getting it,” Hagenston said. "People don’t realize how tough it is to come from nothing when you don’t have any family or any friends.”

He isn’t the average homeless panhandler. Not only does he take credit cards, he has a website, too.

“Being homeless is my business now,” Hagenston said. “My business is being homeless.”

Through his website, Hagenston can be hired to do odd jobs. He updates his site from the public library.

“I’ve done some painting,” Hagenston said. “I’ve taken some other guys out on team jobs where I needed a couple extra guys to carry some things.”

He has an idea for an app that would weed out fake panhandlers and a non-profit to benefit homeless people.

"I'm trying to turn this situation into something that will not only help me but help others," Hagenston said.

About the Author:

Jason is Local 4’s utility infielder. In addition to anchoring the morning newscast, he often reports on a variety of stories from the tragic, like the shootings at Michigan State, to the off-beat, like great gas station food.