Dismazed & Driven

>> 1-minute promo video

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az family multi sepMemoir - Diane shares stories from her 15 years on America's backroads as she chronicled family homelessness. Living full-time in a small van, her solo travel to non-urban locales included adventures and unforgettable encounters. 


Social Narrative - Few people know as much about homeless families as Diane. But she points us to the real experts—the families she met and interviewed in her 15 years on the road.  They openly describe realities they endure, enlightening and inspiring all who listen.

Diane mixes anecdotes of her travel with profound observations that you will not forget. 
                                               - Kathy Keener,
pastor, friend 

Order Dismazed and Driven from the HEAR US online bookshop (benefits HEAR US and Indie bookstores), Amazon, or any major book vendor. E-book.

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  R E V I E W S   I N F O     P E O P L E E X C E R P T S

Paperback - $20.00

ISBN 9781735631714
(bulk discounts (20+) available)

Dismazed e-book*
ISBN 9781735631738

Published by
Charles Bruce Foundation
Cover design: Chad Bruce

All proceeds from the book support the work of HEAR US Inc., 
Diane's nonprofit.

  • Watch the premiere launch of Dismazed and Driven at a book presentation hosted by Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC (12/13/20).
  • Read the heartfelt introduction to Dismazed and Driven by Mark Saxenmeyer, a journalist who met Diane shortly after she started her travels. Mark, executive director of TheReporters.org, provided extensive coverage of Diane's new book. (12/16/20)


My Journey
I’ve spent 15 years on America’s backroads chronicling the plight and promise of families experiencing homelessness. I’ve seen what countless Interstate travelers or those flying over don’t see. I’ve witnessed and documented the unheralded survival of courageous parents and kids whose homes have vanished for countless reasons. 

I’ve faced down and looked up to those with the power to change the system that perpetuates homelessness. My films show truths invisible to officials and decision-makers.

I’ve encountered America, good, bad and ugly - about 400,000 miles of it - in every state except Alaska*. And I’ve done it living in Tillie**, my little motorhome. 

DDN T2 TX*I flew to Hawaii and rented a car, and stayed with friends.
** I personally purchased Tillie.


DDN MEDIUM blogDiane has a blog where she covers issues of homelessness, travel, and more. Check it out! 

Dismazed and Driven:
My Look at Family Homelessness in America
Diane Nilan's behind-the-scenes look at
families without homes in America. 

Follow Diane Nilan into broken-down RVs,
leaky tents, shabby motel rooms, and cramped shelters.

After decades working with homeless families andDDN Colorful camera adults, Diane Nilan hit the road in 2005 to chronicle stories of invisible families and youth experiencing homelessness in non-urban areas across America.  For the past fifteen years, crisscrossing the country in her small van, she filmed scores of interviews of parents and kids. Each was invited to share views on homelessness and the importance of school.

In this memoir, Nilan introduces us to people she met, helping us to understand their backstories. And we get to meet this tenacious, caring, prophetic woman who won't let us look away from children and families in need of stability and grace.

▶︎   Catch this extensive interview of Diane in the prestigious Los Angeles Review of Books!  (12/23/20)

D D Bio pic smallWith the HEAR US mission of “giving voice and visibility to families and youth experiencing homelessness,”
I naively began a sojourn that exceeded my wildest dreams. 

I wanted to hear from those most familiar with homelessness, those most invisible and most misunderstood. I wanted to be their instrument to let their voices be heard and their faces seen. Their candid, courageous responses to my questions confirmed the value of my quixotic mission.

My journey would have been nothing without these brave kids and parents I've been honored to meet

About HEAR UShear us logo

HEAR US Inc., the unique, award-winning, one-woman national nonprofit organization that...gives voice and visibility to children and youth experiencing homelessness.


  • produces poignant films and books used by educators, social service personnel and others to call attention to the invisible crisis of millions of homeless families with children and youth;
  • addresses audiences at conferences, colleges and universities,  and various gatherings to foster a greater understanding of homelessness;
  • facilitates media connections for homeless families/youth, and uses social media to highlight  the need to repair the torn safety net that leaves millions – babies, toddlers, school kids, teens and young adults, and adults – on the streets.

Dismazed and Driven, and its companion Changing the Paradigm of Homelessness (college text), offer new perspectives into family and youth homelessness. All proceeds from sales of Dismazed and Driven (and all of our products) support the work of HEAR US. 

Visit the HEAR US "BookShop," promoting indie book dealers and offering suggestions on worthwhile books on homelessness.

Diane Nilan HEAR US Bookshop page

DDN Director aBONUS!

Many of the stories of families in Diane's book are also "available" in videos that she made

Readers will want to try the HEAR US 30-Day Compassion Challenge, with Nilan's daily short videos on family and youth homelessness. Their cogent, frank responses, watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers world wide, enlighten and inspire. (HEAR US videos) You will be rewarded in Dismazed and Driven with backstories and additional details of those you meet on the Challenge.

When we say homelessness takes a toll, that’s an understatement. At least with tolls, after you pay,
you can head down the road.
 DDN - Dismazed and Driven



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