Public health fair helps homeless man get fresh start

Posted at 6:19 PM, Oct 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-07 19:19:18-04

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Hundreds of people received free public health services Saturday at Community of Christ auditorium.

Project Connect is the first ever public health service event in Eastern Jackson County.

More than 400 people came out to learn about services and get help.

For one man, this fair is just another blessing after a week full of miracles.

41 Action News first introduced you to Pops last week when a woman spotted him crying in a Burger King.

At that time, Pops was homeless and hurting.

“I was sitting there in pain and despair, just wondering what to do next in Burger King. That’s when I met Katy,” said David Haynes, who goes by Pops.

Katy Hurst took Pops to the hospital where he was treated for several broken bones and a failing liver.

His story brought an outpouring of support from the community.

“It’s been a life-changing experience for me,” said Pops.

On Saturday, just a day after being released from the hospital, Pops was getting a fresh start.

He went to the public health fair in Independence to find out what services are available to him as he works to get back on his feet.

“As a city itself, you really don’t see a whole lot of options available for the homeless and to see everybody coming together and putting something like this together, it’s just a huge step in the right direction,” said Pops.

Organizers say helping people like Pops is exactly what the event is for, putting everything in one place takes away the stress of starting over.

“We’re a community that has needs on all aspects. We have services that meet those needs but it’s basically about how to connect people with those services,” said Amber Bauer, Community Chair for the Hungry and Homeless Coalition.

Pops is no longer homeless. He’s now staying with his daughter and grandkids.

He credits Katy’s kindness to helping him get well and getting him back on the right track.

“She saved my life,” said Pops.

In just over a week, a crowdfunding website has raised over $6,000 to help support Pops. For more on how to donate, visit the website.