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Understanding family homelessness in DeKalb

Diane Nilan standing in her van in Lisle.
Yvonne Boose
Diane Nilan standing in her van in Lisle.

The DeKalb library is hosting a panel discussion and book presentation that explores family homelessness.

Diane Nilan is the president of Hear US, an organization that advocates for homeless families. She is also the author of “Dismazed and Driven: My Look at Family Homelessness in America.” She said most people don’t understand family homelessness.

“If they did understand that and know how extensive it was, they would want to, you know, work locally,” she said, “but also systemically to address the issue. And so, I'm hoping that we can ignite the community.”

Nilan said most people don’t understand that elected officials can help solve the problem.

“And I think you know that message has just not gotten out loud and clear enough to get people to do something,” she said. “So, I'm hoping that we can fire up the folks to you know, connect with their local officials and their elected officials.”

The discussion takes place Tuesday Nov. 1 and will include Nilan, NIU professor Laura Vazquez, who worked on a homeless documentary with Nilan, and Hope Haven’s executive director Lesly Wicks.
A short clip from the documentary "On the Edge: Family Homelessness in America" will be shown. Proceeds from the sale of Nilan’s book during the event will go to Hope Haven.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.