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Phoenix officials conducting on-street survey of homeless

A lot of people will be walking Valley streets on Wednesday, taking a different kind of census.

"For the first time in a couple of years, the entire region will be engaging in a count of our homeless population," said Jody Liggett, the Homeless Policy Advisor for Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. "We have teams headed up by the Maricopa Association of Governments, along with city personnel, non-profit associations and hundreds of volunteers. They will fan out over an assigned territory looking for individuals who are out on the street."

Stanton will be on one of the teams walking the city. Starting at 8 a.m., he will be working in the area north of Van Buren Street between Central Ave. and Seventh Ave. The teams will not only count the homeless, but will talk with them about their problems.

Liggett said that the homeless come from all walks of life.

"We've got homeless people who are veterans," she said. "We've got single mothers with children who have fallen through the cracks. There are people who are former professionals that have had a disabling health condition that just wiped them out financially, and they find themselves out on the streets."

The census is called the MAG Point In Time Street Count and Survey of homeless families and individuals. Liggett said the census could help Maricopa County and cities to get federal funding to provide services for the Valley's homeless population.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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