YouTube prankster gives homeless man a new home

A YouTube prankster who gained fame in March when he helped a homeless man cash a winning lottery ticket has outdone himself: Rahat Hossain has since raised enough money to put a roof over the man’s head.

In March, Hossain helped a homeless man named Eric cash a lottery ticket. What Eric didn’t know was that it was a setup: The ticket was fake and part of a stunt to help Hossain give Eric $1,000 and lift his spirits.

There was such a strong reaction to the YouTube video, which has been viewed nearly 16 million times, that Hossain decided to keep raising money for Eric.

In a YouTube video posted on Wednesday, Hossain explains that he has received $44,000 in donations since March. He visits Eric in a motel room Hossain paid for and gets the news that Eric has just landed a job.

Hossain suggests they celebrate, but says he needs something from his house first. He takes Eric to a fully furnished home that Eric can call his own, thanks to the $44,000 in donations.

“You got to be kidding me, right? Eric says. “Oh, my God. Are you serious?”

Of the $44,000, $11,000 will go toward the first year’s rent on the house, $12,000 will go toward utilities, clothes and food for Eric and $21,000 will sit in a bank account being monitored by Hossain.

“Everybody that helped me out, I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Eric says in the video. “I thank you for sticking with me, and I thank you for believing in me.”

Contact Stephanie Grimes at Find her on Twitter: @stephgrimes