Steven Blake was homeless for years until another man showed him how selling fruit in downtown Chicago could rebuild his life. Now Blake employs other homeless people who are working their ways off the streets.
“I do not hire people who already ‘have.’ I want to train the ones and teach the ones to be the entrepreneurs. To go get it!”
“Right now, it is very difficult. There are so many regulations and so many, ‘Well, you gotta do this, you gotta do that.’ All I do is pass out free smiles – loving kindness!”
“We have people who have issues. The resources to help these people are so screwed up. My resources to help are so easy: Do you want it?”
“I could use so much, because I want to give back so much. We’re still at the ground, we’re still at the bottom. We need more help than a little bit right now – we need the city of Chicago.”
“I know I have to be responsible for a lot. Tax purposes, yeah we have to be responsible because the next person needs those taxes. But if we regulate the whole thing, what do you want? Now I’ve got to give you more money than I can make. Is that fair?”
“This is not a game to me. My whole philosophy is ‘each one reach one, each one teach one.’ Together, we can give the city a hand up.”
Owner, BJ’s Produce
Have a story to share?
Tell us how a state or local policy affects your life.
If we decide to feature your story, one of our writers will reach out to you directly.