Homelessness Through a Peacemaking Lens

KUNM Airdate:
May 26, 2023
National Airdate:
Week of Jul 02, 2023
Half-hour Program
Hour Program

In many urban settings, there is a significant unhoused population on the streets. According to the data from 2020, more than half a million people in the United States are unhoused. Many of us want to help but may feel conflicted about how. On this edition of PEACE TALKS RADIO correspondent Emily Cohen explores the dynamics of homelessness with three guests working to assist people living on the street, including Miranda Twitchell who is a leader in the unsheltered community in which she has lived on and off for the past several years in Salt Lake City. Also on the program, Wren Fialka, the founder of Spread the Love Commission, and Eva Thibadeau-Graczyk the CEO of Temenos Community Development Corporation in Houston, practicing the “Housing First” approach to the problem.


If you want to engage with someone who is experiencing homelessness, use common sense... Check out the situation. Feel the vibe with them. Just even a smile, eye contact, a “good morning,” that’s a great place to start. If it’s someone you pass every day, let the relationship bloom naturally like any other relationship. If someone is out there with a sign, take a minute to read the sign.

Wren Fialka
Spread The Love Commission
Listen to complete interview

I’m not unhoused because I want to be unhoused. I’m unhoused because of a situation I couldn’t control. Trying to keep a job when you’re homeless is really hard because there is nowhere to charge your phone. I’m not big on panhandling because I’m an able-bodied person and I should be working, but sometimes it’s a matter of eating. (If you want to help) that’s up to you, but if it’s cold, come out with hot chocolate, come out with a blanket, handwarmers, things like that mean a lot because it shows us that we’re human just like you. We’re all the same.

Miranda Twitchell
Salt Lake City, Utah, unsheltered community leader
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Since 2011 when we embraced Housing First and shifted our entire system from housing ready to Housing First, we’ve reduced homelessness by 63%. You have to remember that homelessness is not a one and done. It’s always a dynamic picture. All of the upstream systems that are extremely broken, racist, inadequate and so on are still driving people into homelessness.

Eva Thibadeau-Graczyk
CEO of Temenos Community Development Corporation, Houston
Listen to complete interview

Websites and Other Resources

BIO:  Wren Fialka is the founder and Executive Director of Spread the Love Commission and a 27- year resident of Jackson, Wyoming. Her first introduction to those facing homelessness was as an 8-year old in Washington D.C. when she encountered a kind and insightful elderly man living on the streets near a garden project her mom initiated to help those in need to grow their own food. Since this early encounter, this crisis and the people caught up in it, have had a special place in her heart. In December of 2014, a conversation with a man living on the streets in San Francisco led to an epiphany and the compilation of a simple list of vital supplies that inspired her to form the boots on the ground organization Spread the Love Commission.

BIO:  Miranda Twitchell is a recent graduate of the Wasatch Community Gardens’ Green Phoenix Farm, a 1.4-acre urban farm located in Salt Lake City which offers women facing homelessness the opportunity to work a paid farm position while working toward stable housing and employment. Twitchell previously worked as a stagehand for trade and Broadway shows. She was a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Miranda is an advocate for people in her community who are unconventionally housed. She is originally from Colorado.

BIO:  Eva Thibaudeau-Graczyk is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked in the field of homelessness since 1996. She is currently the CEO of Temenos Community Development Corporation. Previously, she served as chief program officer for the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County, where she oversaw a large reduction in homelessness in the Houston area. Thibaudeau-Graczyk also sits on the steering committee of A Way Home America, a national initiative that works to end youth homelessness.

National Alliance to End Homelessness

National Low Income Housing Coalition

Spread the Love Commission

Temenos Community Development Corporation

Episode Transcript