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90Works: Families Count Rebrands To Help Develop Self Sufficiency In 90 Days

Bob Barrett

For over 30 years, the non-profit called "Families Count" has been helping people become self sufficient members of society. Now, they've changed their name to 90Works and the rebranding has re-energized its members.

Cate Jordon, the executive director of 90Works, says that there are so many non-profits with the word "family" in the name that Families Count would get lost in the crowd. When she would talk to groups about the services they offered people's eyes would glaze over and she'd lose them. The change and re-branding has streamlined their services and the way they get the word out about what they do.

90Works helps people become self sufficient members of society in 90 days. What happens in those 90 days? Cate Jordon says it's a step by step process, that has a 90% success rate and begins with housing. She says someone who is homeless can't live an organized life and that makes work almost impossible.

The second step is employment, finding a job which Jordon says many times they can do in one day. Transportation is next, you can't keep a job if you can't get to it every day. 90Works has a program where clients can get a free bicycle.


Next up is health care. 90Works is the home of the navigators for the Affordable Care Act in this part of the country who have been helping people through the health insurance sign up process since last year.  This step also involves safety, including making sure someone is not living in an abusive situation.  Finally there is support. 90Works can coach and offer other support services in those 90 days to make sure a client succeeds.

The one thing that Jordon stresses is that 90Works is not interested in giving people hand outs. It's like the old Chinese proverb "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime". The people who come to 90Works for help must be ready to work for that help.

If this sounds like a unique system, you're right. Cate Jordon says she doesn't know of any organization around the country do the work that 90Works does.

To find out if you qualify for help you can call 90Works toll free at 855-90-WORKS. Or go to 90Works.org.

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.