EAST LANSING -- Forty-nine-year-old Carl Hullett used to live in a parking garage.
And he says he was the ultimate panhandling salesman.
"I would say I was probably one of the better ones," he admits.
For two years, he panhandled on the streets in East Lansing, and says he could make $150 a day, and on gamedays, upwards of $400.
He admits he was using that money to support an addiction to crack-cocaine.
"I can honestly say that most of the people out here are supporting one type of addiction or another, whether it's alcohol or drugs."
In South Lansing, an apparent panhandling operation has Carl's strategy down to a science.
They have staked out intersections along Cedar Street and work in teams, dropped off in the morning, and picked up at night to return to their homes.
One man we talked to said at least one of those people makes $200 a day, and uses it for heroin.
Another woman who panhandles at the Pennsylvania Avenue and I-96 on-ramp intersection says she's not part of that group, and that some of them have been threatening a turf war for the intersection where she operates.
"She comes by here and cusses me out because they want our spot," she said.
"I think a lot of people do do drugs, so that's what people tell me. But that's not our situation. We are homeless, and we have to pay our room every day and buy food."
Carl, for his part, says many of these people do need help. Some suffer from mental illness.
But he cautions against giving cash, noting those who handed him money were enabling him.
"I thank God for them, but at the same time it didn't give me any incentive to look for anything different. I was just satisfied with where I was at at the time," he says.
He eventually turned it around, entered the drug rehab program at City Rescue Mission in Lansing, and got a job with a landscaping company.
So what's his advice on how to help panhandlers?
Carry gift cards for restaurants in your car, and hand them to those in need.