Compassionate Conversations to Address Homelessness

Seattle’s housing crisis is dire, complex and seemingly intractable. For decades, Peggy Holman, co-founder of Journalism That Matters, had been hosting conversations that bring “whole systems” of people from organizations and communities together to create their future. She wondered whether these conversations could help Seattle more deeply understand and address its “gnarly problem” of homelessness. 

Holman hired Praxis Associates to guide an evaluation that mixed principles-focused evaluation and participatory practices. Yve worked with the conversation hosting team to define how the three principles of creativity, compassion, and community would guide the design and process of the conversation. During the conversation itself, Yve focused on interactions among participants, and the emerging conversation and insights. Six months after the event, Praxis conducted a survey and in-depth interviews to learn about its impact. 

The resulting evaluation report describes the value and limitations one gathering can have for moving the needle on a complex issue, and offers a roadmap for media organizations that want to host — or be part of — similar conversations in their communities. The project was profiled in Lenfest Institute’s Solution Set.

Journalism that Matters Report


  • Participatory practices
  • Complexity-informed evaluation
  • Principles-focused evaluation


  • Full-service evaluation
  • Mixed methods data collection & analysis

Praxis Associates, LLC  |  Vashon Island, WA & Berkeley, CA  |