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More families adding to number of Phoenix homeless

PHOENIX -- The Valley's homeless count has jumped by 11 percent in the past year and for many, including an increasing number of families, it's their first time on the street.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said the Valley has about 6,000 homeless people, which is up by about 650 people from last year.

Irene Augustin, spokeswoman for Central Arizona Shelter Services, said the staff has seen a rise in the number of families who've lost jobs and been forced out of homes.

"There's actually a waiting list for homeless families with our shelter," said Augustin.

Another trend she's seeing is more homelessness among 18 to- 25-year-olds. It's the result of parents who are dealing with hard times financially and can no longer afford to take care of post-high-school-age children living at home.

Augustin said the number of chronically homeless seems to be dropping in Phoenix.

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About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite food: Steak and shrimp, and any food on campouts.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Favorite news memory: The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. The 2007 Southern California Firestorm and being at Sky Harbor Airport when the first plane lifted off several days after 9-11. Seeing the American flag on the tail of the Salt Lake City-bound Delta airliner as it took off still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges -- which was outstanding --, Lonesome Dove.

First job: Spinning records at KLER Radio Orofino, Idaho 1980.

First concert: KISS/Cheap Trick 1977 Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, The University of Montana Grizzlies and Texas Rangers.

Outside interests: Sports, camping, fishing, traveling.


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