By Conor McCue

LAKEWOOD, Colo., (CBS4) – A man who once lived on the streets has since started a business and gotten back on his feet. Now he’s asking for help after an uninsured driver t-boned his truck last week.

(credit: CBS)

For years, collecting scrap metal has been Joseph Kniss’ salvation. The longtime Lakewood resident started the hobby while he was homeless, but soon worked enough to afford a camper home and buy a truck for his newfound career.

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Now, Kniss worries his second chance at life could be short-lived.

(credit: Joseph Kniss)

Last week, while at church in Lakewood, a driver on Wadsworth Boulevard had a medical issue and slammed into Kniss’ work truck in the parking lot. Kniss tells CBS4 he suffered a concussion and his passenger sprained his ankle.

The biggest concern is the condition of the truck. Currently, the entire driver’s side is caved in and the door is jammed shut.

“This is where it locks right here, and now I can’t even open this up at all,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

According to Lakewood Police, the other driver was uninsured, and was cited for careless driving and no proof of insurance. Kniss’ problem starts with his insurance policy, which he says doesn’t cover such an incident.

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“This is clearly my mistake,” he said. “I should have taken care of it.”

While he’s not sure if it’s cheaper to fix his truck or buy a new one, Kniss is not sure he can afford either option.

Currently, he’s trying to use the truck to continue his work, but because he has to climb in and out of the passenger side every time, his pace of work is slowed. Kniss estimates his productivity is only a third of what it usually is because of the obstacles related to the damage.

(credit: CBS)

“I’m trying to create a business here, and this setback is going to push me back years until I can regain,” Kniss said.

Friend, Zeris Meharena has since started a GoFundMe page to help Kniss raise money for his situation. The help could be the difference between scrapping or just scraping by.

“If this fails, I’m back on the street again and anytime you make a turn to see if your bed is there, your sleeping bag is there, your tent is there, or your camper is there, you’re homeless,” Kniss said.

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Conor McCue