Diane  Nilan Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Diane Nilan


Diane Nilan has more than 3 decades of experience running shelters; advocating for improved state and federal policies; filming/producing award-winning documentaries, My Own Four Walls; on the edge: Family Homelessness in America; writing her reader-friendly book on homelessness, Crossing the Line: Taking Steps to End Homelessness; and addressing audiences from Columbia University to Congress. Since 2005 she's lived in a van, traveling across the US chronicling family/youth homelessness.


 Author—Crossing the Line: Taking Steps to End Homelessness
 Award-Winning Filmmaker— My Own Four Walls; on the edge: Family Homelessness in America; REACH; Littlest Nomads; Worn Out Welcome Mat, films about homeless families/youth in TX, KS, OR, ID, WA, NH, NJ, HI
 Editor/photographer—The Charlie Book: 60 Ways to Help Homeless Kids
 Activist, homelessness issues

2005-present HEAR US Inc. Naperville, IL, President and Founder
national advocacy organization to give voice & visibility to homeless children & youth.
2003-2005 PROJECT REACH, 8 suburban counties outside Chicago, Founder and Director
lead liaison for McKinney-Vento implementation
1990–2003 Hesed House & Public Action to Deliver Shelter, Aurora, IL, Associate Director and
Program Director (Center for ministry to very poor and homeless persons)

Professional Affiliations Friends of Imiliwaha NFP (founding member, board of directors)

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Family Homelessness
    Youth Homelessness
    Homeless Education Laws and Policies

Personal Interests

    Interests Photography/videography, travel, reading, disc golf, kayaking, hot air ballooning



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Homelessness - Vissing - 1st Edition book cover


Public Seminar

Unpaid School Lunch Fees: The Tip of the Homelessness Iceberg

Published: Dec 07, 2019 by Public Seminar
Authors: Yvonne Vissing, Diane Nilan
Subjects: Education, Adolescent Studies, Family Studies

Lunch-shaming turned into an epidemic this fall, as it does every year when schools try to crack down on unpaid lunch fees. The trouble is, too often schools are bullying kids to fork over money that they really don't have to pay.


Nowhere to Go: Family Homelessness in America

Published: Dec 07, 2019

Courageous parents and kids! In 8-minutes you'll grasp why family homelessness is so awful. This HEAR US video was screened at a congressional hearing on family homelessness. It is part of a national grassroots campaign to expand HUD's definition of homelessness. www.helphomelesskidsnow.org