diane nilan

  • 3 Melissas' Intro

    Introducing our super-exciting book project that's in the works! We wanted to share just a little info on this unique book that is scheduled for release September 2024.

    Now available for BULK Pre-Order! Shipping in September!
    .....ORDER INFO.....

    1 3M THEcover copy

    The Three Melissas--  
    THE Practical Guide to Surviving 
    Family Homelessness

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    The book that needed to be written, filled with wisdom and observations from 3 astute women named Melissa with loads of lived homelessness experience!

    Target audience: families experiencing homelessness.

    Family homelessness demands so much from parents and kids. It's a time of trauma and uncertainty. No one guides you through the process. Until now. 

    Families will find practical helpful hints to make these hard times a bit easier.  Those who work with families will learn directly from experts, The Three Melissas. Those curious about family homelessness will be astounded at what families navigate.



    Melissa A

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    The Three Melissas jumped at the chance to collaborate on this project, the first handbook on family homelessness, and the most important book for parents and those helping parents deal with homelessness.

    The book is based on their input, shared with Diana and Diane who shaped it into this eye-opening handbook.  

    The Three Melissas will receive proceeds from the book

    Watch these 1-minute film clips featuring
    these incredible women!

    Melissa A

    Melissa N

    Melissa T

    3M all no back
    The Three Melissas now have a Substack pagewhere posts, videos, pics and more will be shared as time goes on.
    No subscription fee, just sign up and join our social media efforts! 

    About the book...

    The Three Melissas -
    The Practical Guide to Surviving Family Homelessness

    By Diana Bowman and Diane Nilan,
    Featuring Melissa A (IL), Melissa N (FL), Melissa T (KS)


    Who knows more about family homelessness than the parents who experience it? The Three  Melissas -- The Practical Guide to Surviving Family Homelessness is a unique book of wisdom from 3 mothers named Melissa filled with their unfettered advice to millions of other moms, dads, and caregivers without a place to live. 

    These hard-won observations and suggestions, compiled into an unprecedented survival guide for families experiencing homelessness in the United States each year, offers tips and takes on common issues bedeviling stressed parents. This guide will also inform those working with homeless families, giving readers a more enlightened understanding of the mostly invisible and growing crisis of family homelessness. 


    Diana Bowman and Diane Nilan, two long-time advocates and professionals have spent collectively over 75 years learning about family homelessness in the U.S. From their respective positions, they’ve provided abundant invaluable information and assistance to communities, educators, service providers, and policy makers. At the heart of their efforts has always been the commitment to convey the combined challenges of being homeless and raising children, and to provide tips to help families survive their hardships.

    This book project took their mission to another level, requiring help from the experts, namely parents with lived experience of homelessness. Featured in this book are three mothers, all named Melissa, who offered poignant insights into what it’s like to be homeless with small children. They also provided scores of practical tips and words of encouragement to support and inspire other parents facing homeless.


    The practical advice from the 3 Melissas will not only provide support and encouragement to parents experiencing homelessness but will reduce anxiety and ease tensions between families and those trying to help them. Those inviting families to temporarily stay with them, doubling up, will learn ways to smooth this often-bumpy arrangement. Educators, agency professionals and policymakers will gain insights about everyday logistical challenges families encounter and turn those insights into ways to alleviate family homelessness. 


    Marketing plans are in process to get the book into the hands of as many families as possible. HEAR US will sell this book through mainstream book vendors. Proceeds from the book will be distributed to The Three Melissas. Charles Bruce Foundation, publisher. Paperback (5x7), appx. 150 pages. Retail $15. Bulk prices available. Anticipated availability September 2024. BULK PRE-ORDERS NOW ACCEPTED!
    More info, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..





  • HEAR US Books

     HEAR US offers superb books to help adults and kids understand homelessness. 

    Diane's Books About Homelessness CBF Books About Homeless 
    Children and Youth
    CBF Books About Kids' Homelessness for Kids  Pat Van Doren's Books About Homeless Kids
    for Kids

    dismazed and driven book

    Dismazed and Driven - My Look at Family Homelessness in America

    Diane's latest book! 
    Released November 2020



    Crossing the Line book

    Crossing the Line:
    Taking Steps to End Homelessness

    by Diane Nilan

    Paradigm book cover

     Changing the Paradigm of Homelessness 

    by Yvonne Vissing, Christopher Hudson and Diane Nilan


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    SHOP HEAR US E-Stores
    ooks also available through mainstream book vendors (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.) and independent book stores.

    Schools/organizations may use PURCHASE ORDERS to order from HEAR US.
    Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     - Priscilla Series -

    • Priscilla the Princess
      of the Park
    • Priscilla and the Snow Fort
    • Priscilla and the Bishop's Gambit
    • Priscilla's Picnic with the President

    Pat LaMarche's delightful new series of children's chapter books on homelessness! They are kids' books that will delight and enlighten kids and adults!

    Priscilla Princess book cover

    Priscilla snow fort cover

    Priscilla Bishop book

    Priscilla picnic with the president book

    Pat's hardcover and e-books available through the Charles Bruce Foundationand Amazon.

    Kursid Kids

    Kursid Kids 

    Written by an 8-year-old boy, Ronan, Pat LaMarche's grandson,  
    ...this book weaves an elaborate science fantasy through a fabric of injustice. You will fall in love with the characters - most of them. You will ponder the same question Ronan asked in the car that dark night as he thought about his housing-insecure classmates, "Who will make things right in a world where so much is wrong?"

    Priscilla Pals in the park

    Priscilla and her Pals in the Park

    Written by Pat LaMarche to be read to younger children, this will enlighten older readers, too! 


    Pat's hardcover and e-books available through the Charles Bruce Foundation and Amazon.

    It's About the Childrenproject

    by Pat Van Doren 


    Where Can I Build My Volcano?
    limited supplies


    Place of Our Own-cover-sm

    A Place of Our Own 
    no longer available


    A Family of 5 or 6
    limited supplies

    Each book is $15 + s/h

    Available through
    HEAR US Square Site. 


    Charlie-book cover

    The Charlie Book:

    60 Ways to Help Homeless Kids

    by Diana Bowman

    Available through
    HEAR US Square Site.
    imited supply at $10 @
    Price increase coming. 

    The Charlie Book is also available as an e-book from Amazon. 






  • HEAR US on Facebook

    Now that you signed up for our monthly HEAR US newsletter, why not friend us on Facebook?!


    Follow and interact with Diane as she travels the backroads of the country chronicling homelessness.

    HEAR US has a vibrant social media presence on FB. Every day Diane posts about family and youth homelessness, poverty and related topics.  

    FRIEND Diane to follow her travels.
    artistic rendition of Diane's van

     HEAR US facebook logo

     USA map small

    HEAR US--

    2015 - Celebrated 10 Years!

    2020 - 15 years -

    HEAR US 2020 VisionQuest tour
    Covid upended any celebration.

    (Top) Diane and Tillie, her first office/home on wheels.

    Diane's van tillieDiane's van tillie2

    (Below) Diane and Tillie2, her 2nd office/home on wheels.

    To learn moreabout the real stories of homeless families and youth and what you can do to help, please join our efforts.

    For the latest from HEAR US:



  • Recognition

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    NAEHCY Best Targeted Campaign 2015, for the HEAR US documentary Worn Out Welcome Mat - Kansas, depicting families and youth in doubled up homelessness.

    osf moes award

    Mother Alfred Moes award, Joliet Franciscan Sisters, presented to Diane in Oct. 2015, honoring Diane's decades of efforts serving homeless families and youth. 

    Diane was joined by many of her HEAR US board members, Pat LaMarche (Babe of Wrath), and several of her high school and college teachers. 

    Sister Clare Award

    University of St. Francis


    University of St. Francis, Joliet IL, Diane's alma mater, presented her with the esteemed Sister Clare Award (March 2014)

    The Sister Clare Award:
    Given in the spirit of Clare of Assisi, this award recognizes women of vision who have transformed the world in their time. Potential nominees must be women who make a positive, transformative impact in the community; inspire and serve as role models for other women; and are committed to nature, the planet and/or society.

    In honor of this award, an anonymous donor offered a $10,000 challenge grant. A tremendous outpouring of support--from Diane's high school teachers, students she taught decades ago, and a wide range of friends and believers--enabled HEAR US to match the grant, raising $20,000 for future projects.

    Interview on USF TV station(March 2014)

    THN 2013 

    In Sept. 2013, Diane received the Texas Homeless Network's highest honor, the Kathy Reid Award.

    Kids best friendLOCAL RECOGNITION

    In November 2012, back in Naperville, IL, Diane's work was honored by The Education Center. She received the Kids' Best Friend award, their top honor. She's pictured here with HEAR US board members Rita Sullivan, Helen Jilek OSB, and (seated) Pat Van Doren. 


    Bridge Communities recognized Diane's work with their Lives Transformed award in April 2012.

    DDN NAEHCY Award

    Top honors from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth(2012)

    Diane was presented with the Sandra Neese Lifetime Achievement Award for her many accomplishments in the past 3 decades.

    Dr. Laura Vazquez(right), professor from Northern Illinois University whose immeasurable contributions to the HEAR US film efforts from the beginning, received NAEHCY's Distinguished Service and Leadership Award.




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