• 2020 VisionQuest

    HEAR US 2020 VisionQuest will be a months’ long effort to call attention to families and youth experiencing homelessness along U.S. Route 20 spanning the northern part of the US from Boston to Newport, OR, and Interstate 20 in the southern part, from Florence, SC to Pecos, TX. (Route Map By State/Date)

    2020 ByState US 20 map

    2020 I 20 By State map

    Diane Nilan, HEAR US founder/president and sole staff person, will chronicle poverty, homelessness and life along these routes.

    Diane in doorway of her van

    She will conduct presentations, film screenings, as well as interview families/youth, especially those who are not included in HUD’s all-too-narrow definition of homelessness. Follow her on Facebook. 

    Nilan's been living on the road since 2005 when she founded her nonprofit organization. HEAR US Inc. gives voice and visibility to the (now) 7,000,000+ American children and youth living in cars and shelters, on the streets, or “doubled up” with other families.  She has traveled over 400,000 miles of mostly backroads through 48 mainland states, and Hawaii (not in her R.V.), making dozens of films that have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Her work has earned recognition from a variety of organizations. 

    Prior to HEAR US, Nilan (bio) ran shelters, worked on statewide (IL) and national advocacy campaigns, and worked with educators to improve awareness of and compliance with homeless education laws she helped pass. 

    HEAR US 2020 VisionQuest Round 2  begins January 20, 2020 in Florence, SC.
    The route will parallel I-20.

    Schedule info.

    2020 Florence church audience

    2020 USC video class






    2020 Powder Springs UMC talk


    First stops: Florence, SC, where Diane addressed a group of concerned citizens and organizations about the realities of family homelessness. She spoke to a vibrant social work class at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Then addressed an engaged group at Powder Springs UMC in GA. Article from my Florence visit.

    diane at the end of I-20 route


    (UPDATE March 7, 2020)As of Jan. 27, Diane took an important detour to the Florida Panhandle where Hurricane Michael's damage created even more homelessness and suffering. She interviewed families and youth.Ride It Out: Hurricane Michael Carnage (4 min)


    hurricane michael knocked a tree on a house roofOn March 7, 2020, Diane finished her I-20 segment, returning to Midland to do her last presentation. She hopped back to I-20 and finished her 2020 trip. 

    Then Covid hit, shutting down the country. Diane used the shutdown to write her book, Dismazed and Driven - My Look at Family Homelessness in America. 
    Diane's van at the end of I-20

    Stories from her 2020 travels as well as previous years are included in her latest book.

    hurricane michael destroyed apartment

    UPDATE 2/2020) Interview with a grandma and her granddaughter, an unaccompanied youth, and a mother of 2 in Oregon will give you an entirely different idea of homelessness. Watch Desperate in Oregon. 5-min

    UPDATE (1/2020) Interview # 4, 3 single moms, each with 3 children, are each doubled up in tiny American Falls, Idaho. Their stories reflect the common dilemma of doubled up families--if they have to leave their stress-filled temporary living situations they have nowhere to go. 6.5 min. Watch Invisible Homeless Families.

    UPDATE (12/19) Interview #3, Alexa, 18, lives on her own in a small, dilapidated camper in rural Idaho. She shares what life is like, her struggles and dreams. 5-min. Watch Without a Nest. BONUS! Alexa offered several thoughts on how her teachers could improve their approach to students experiencing homelessness. Watch Alexa: Asked and Answered.

    (12/19) Interview #2, "Sara" and her 6-yr.-old son "Kenny" let Diane hang with them, filming a day in their lives, centered around surviving while living in a car in coastal Oregon. 5-min. Watch Parking Lot Survival. 

    (8/7): Interview #1, Nicole describes her family's experiences with homelessness. In 5 minutes she astutely points out the systemic obstacles facing families that are trying to get back on their feet. Watch Positively Homeless.

     HEAR US 2020 VisionQuest STARTED July 20, 2019 and Round 1 was completed October 27 in Newport, OR. Round 2 began on January 20 from Florence, SC and ended March 7, at the end of I-20.

    Naperville Sun articleabout the kickoff
    Naperville Sun follow-up article 
    Sweet Home, OR article

    HEAR US 2020 logo

    The most ambitious HEAR US cross-country trip ever! 

    25 States - 9,000 miles

    Learn more about this project by watching this 2-min. video.

    DonorBox button medium blue copy

  • Babes of Wrath

    Welcome to the new honorary 
    Babe of Wrath!

    Honorary Babe Barbara

    Barbara James of Texas has joined the ranks of the Babes of Wrath for her outstanding service on our
    Dismazed & Left Out tour!


    Keep up with
    the Babes!

    Babes of Wrath on Facebook!


    2022 Babes' Events

    Memorial Blanket Project

    Blanket Pat DDNDecember 21, Memorial Blanket Project, US Capitol lawn,
    Washington, DC

    HEAR US is joining with the Charles Bruce Foundation to create a 9,000+ sq. ft. display of handmade blankets (quilted, knitted, crocheted) to commemorate National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day. More info:

    Want to learn more about the Babes of Wrath?

    D D cvr FINAL small

    Diane's new book, 
    Dismazed and Driven - My Look at Family Homelessness in America,
    contains several of their escapades!
    > MORE INFO 


    Pat and Diane each wrote a book about homelessness that have gotten amazing reviews, including in the prestigious LA Review of Books.


    In 2011, Pat LaMarche and Diane Nilan hit the pavement in Tillie, the HEAR US corporate office/wheels and residentialsouthern discomfort-PLM DDN headquarters. Their maiden voyage, Southern Discomfort, was the first of the EPIC Journeys, (Everyday People In Crisis). They traveled through 7 southern states, generating massive media coverage and large crowds in communities desperate for attention to the homeless children and youth crisis.

    They received tremendous tech support and graphics from Max Donnelly, the stationary member of the team. 

    Pat and Diane survived. And the excitement, response and media coverage of Trip 1 guaranteed a sequel. Thus Babes of Wrath was born (inspired by the Grapes of Wrath).

    In January 2013, the Babes headed westward for a month through Steinbeck-land and beyond to call attention to and raise compassion for homeless children and youth. They collaborated with local activists and held events, including film screenings (My Own Four Walls and on the edge: Family Homelessness in America), book talks (Left Out in America and Crossing the Line), and met with mayors to really survey them about local homelessness issues and efforts.

    See the Babes of Wrath on Current TV's news magazine,
     The Young Turks


    In November 2013, the Babes did a daring dash to Maine, stopping in Massachusetts and New Hampshire along the way. 

    Babes HomelessRange


    October 2014
     Trip # 4, Homeless on the Range. The rolling duo ventured through CO, WY, MT, NB, KS, and landed at the NAEHCY conferencein Kansas City, MO at the end of October. 

    This was the maiden voyage of Tillie2, the sleek new camper-van that will be the HEAR US headquarters, offfering a lighter eco-footprint as HEAR US travels to raise awareness of homeless children and youth. 

    Pat LaMarche also blogged about our trip on her HuffPo blog.

    Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's office was the scene of a Babes visit. DDN1.IMG 7947

    DDN5.IMG 7963DDN2.IMG 7957DDN4.IMG 7959

    DDN3.IMG 7958

    P D Frost BitesBabes of Wrath visited Speaker Paul Ryan's Janesville, WI office in 10/16. Pat stood outside his office with a sign seeking support for homeless persons. Diane sat in her van across the street, filming the excitement in this excitement-deprived town. A nearby shopkeeper called the police who came and checked out these, ahem, middle-aged activists who want to Make America Kind Again.

    Babes CA logoIn July '18, Pat and Diane were invited to present at the NOW (National Organization of Women) national conference. Their topic--Homelessness is a Feminist Issue. The discussion was electric! 


    This event created the opportunity for the Babes to put together their California Dreamin' Nightmaretour, and the Babes found plenty of nightmares--homelessness abound.


    TunaGate, an outrageous attempt to punish impoverished households by handing tuna sandwiches to students in Cherry Hill, NJ, a fairly affluent enclave east of Philly. Babes of Wrath Pat LaMarche and Diane Nilan popped into this community and spoke with the district McKinney-Vento liaison and others. Before too long it was quite evident that families experiencing homelessness were being unfairly caught in this punative effort aimed at lunch scofflaws. National media attention on this included an interview with Diane.(9/19) 

    The simple math lesson indicates why this is such a concern. 

    Babes CherryHill 9 19

    Babes of Wrath by a dinosaur statue near Cherry Hill.CherryHill

    Contact Diane
     for information and to get your community on the path of
    these bodacious advocates











  • Babes' Banned Book Tour 22

    Babes Banned 22Babes banned logo

    Babes of Wrath will be taking their books, banned and not, on a one-month 12 state tour. 
    The Babes' presentations will hit an array of audiences. Some of the stops will be fundraisers, with book proceeds going to a local cause.

    Babes Banned Book Tour (BBBT) Schedule:

    Books available for purchase at events.

    Sept. 14, Lindenhurst, IL  7 -  8:30 pm, Lake Villa District Library, Program Room A, 140 N Munn Rd., Lindenhurst. Public, no charge.


    Sept. 15, Minneapolis, MN  My Very Own Bed and Eastside Neighborhood Association are hosting the BBBT. 
    Thursday, 7 - 8:30 pm, 1700 Second Street NE, Mpls, MN 


       TRAVEL to MT
    Sept. 18-21, MT

    19, 6 pm,Glendive, Dawson Community College, Toepke Auditorium, public, no charge

    20, 6 pm, Bozeman, location TBA, public, no charge 

    21, 3 pm?, Bozeman, Clearwater Properties, TBA

    21, 6 pm, Whitehall Community Library, public, no charge

    22, 2 pm, Pablo, Salish Kootenai College, public, no charge

    Sept. 23-24, Spokane and Cheney. WA

    23, 12 pm*, Liberty Park Library, public, no charge

    23, 2 - 3:00 pm*, Central Downtown Library, public, no charge

    24, 10 - 11 am, Medical Lake Library, public, no charge

    24, 12:30 - 1:30 pm, Cheney Public Library, public, no charge

    * times subject to change

    Sept 25-26  TRAVEL
    Sept. 27-29, Paradise, CA

    28, Cal State University, Chico, 7 -  8:30 pm, Colusa Hall 100, community awareness, 
    Butte County Office of Education, morning, time TBD
    29, 2:00 Cal State Chico, Child Welfare Class

    Sept. 29-30 TRAVEL after Chico event and monring of Salt Lake City event
    Sept. 30, Salt Lake City, UT  2:00, 2 - 3:30 pm, Salt Lake City Public Library
    Oct. 1  Travel to NM
    Oct. 3-9, Santa Fe/ABQ, NM  TBD
    Oct. 12, Joliet, IL University of St. Francis, 7 -  8:30 pm, San Damiano Hall, Main Campus, 500 Wilcox St. Joliet, IL, public, no charge



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