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Jeff Berg: Persevering through it all
Persistence is not something new to Jeff Berg. Whether it has been trying to find secure employment or battling depression, Berg has persisted through tough times.
Every day, Jeff Berg comes to StreetWise to continue on his hunt for employment. “I wake up very early to come to the StreetWise office to be the first person to check job availabilities,” said Berg. Undeterred by his inability to secure stable employment outside of StreetWise for two years now, Berg doesn’t stop scanning the listings everyday.
Like most StreetWise vendors, Jeff was laid off in the recent economic depression. “I used to be a maintenance technician for a company that packaged machinery, but I was laid off in 2009,” Berg said. After not being able to pay his monthly payments for his house, Berg became homeless. “I lost my house. I lost my car. I had to file for bankruptcy. I pretty much lost everything,” said Berg. “However, that didn’t stop me from trying to find employment,” said Berg.
Unwilling to live on the street, Berg went from shelter to shelter to find housing. Eventually he found a shelter that would take him. His case manager at the shelter recommended that he start working for StreetWise. Berg took his advice and has been a vendor at StreetWise ever since that day in April 2011.
“StreetWise has really treated me well over the past year and a half,” said Berg. “I like talking to my customers and I’m grateful to all of them for the support they have given me. It takes a long time to build up a large customer base. I like to get to know them as well as they know me.” Laughs Berg, “Without them, I’d have a lot of problems.”
As a persistent person, one thing Jeff Berg can’t do is be idle. “I have to be proactive. I can’t expect someone to come hand me money. I have to be out there everyday doing what I can to support myself,” Berg said. “I have to be a part of society.”
Many StreetWise vendors set goals for themselves, and Jeff Berg recently accomplished one of his. “I just finished one of my short term goals when I became a member of Moody Church. I went through the membership classes and am very grateful to my sponsor for sponsoring me to be able to become a member and helping me financially,” said Berg. “Hopefully I can continue my Bible studies for the next few years.”
“One day I will get back to the place I was before 2009,” said Berg. “I know I can continue progressing.”
If you want to buy a StreetWise from Jeff, you can catch him outside the Starbucks on the corner of Clark and Belmont (3184 N. Clark St.) from 6 to 11 a.m. You can also find him at 1165 N. Clark outside of the CVS Pharmacy from 12 to 7 p.m seven days a week.
Written by Sam McGarvey,
StreetWise Editorial Intern