Mobile home communities (MHC), aka “trailer parks”

A South Carolina trailer park gone to hell Photo Diane Nilan

Few grasp reality of life in these tin-can enclaves

I found myself “living” in a mobile home community for a few days while working on a film project in Idaho. I live in my camper-van, and prefer the open spaces of state parks or the free spot offered at “Camp Walmart,” but with temps dipping down to the 30s, I headed to Idaho Falls rare “campground,” a misnomer applied to this, um, community.

I’m frugal, and will freeze in Camp WM before forking out $40+ for a place to park overnight. Because I’m here for a few wintery days, and have grant funding, I held my nose and grabbed…

Clueless Men Best Avoid Mansplaining, Even Homelessness

poster on an alley wall depicting woman and graffiti
Poster on a NJ alley wall. Photo Diane Nilan

The Illinois Times headline, How did these women get this way?, evoked my curiosity (as an author of multiple books on homelessness) about both this book, The Least Among Us, by James Traveler and what Len Naumovich, the reviewer. As an Illinois woman with a long history in advocacy and providing services for adults and children experiencing homelessness, familiar with Springfield homelessness, I came away with several thoughts.

Naumovich’s remarks underscore the challenge those of us in the advocacy world face:

sticking up for a much maligned population who seldom garner compassion, for whom the misconceptions about their circumstances ratchets…

Millions Left Homeless on the Streets

We knew, months ago, that the eviction moratorium deadline was going to end with a bang. The Delta virus lurked and festered, now worse than Round One of Coronavirus. The concurrence of two major crises multiplies their impact. For the most part, we’ve dismissed both significant events, as millions of babies, toddlers, kids, parents and single adults hit the streets.

The steady dribble of news stories about evictions didn’t seem to fire up any great efforts to circumvent this disaster except for the gallant efforts of Congresswoman Cori Bush. Granted, the on-the-ground agencies charged with distributing $46 billion of rent…

Thank you for courageously sharing your agonizing, and freeing, experience. So many (mostly) women are trapped in this kind of relationship. Reading your thoughtful and painful reflections will help many.

The other day I interviewed a woman for a film project I'm working on--a look at families doubled up or self-paying in motels because they lost housing and have no options. They're homeless, but invisibly so, and are outside the qualifications for housing assistance. We are trying to change that.

The woman I interviewed has 5 children, age 10-infant, by the same father. She expressed, multiple times, that she wants…

Why the Uphill Climb to Ending Homelessne$$?

Who loses in an eviction? Photo Diane Nilan

Ask yourself, with all the “End Homelessness in 10 Year” campaigns, why hasn’t it happened?

Homelessness is good for the economy. It’s a profit-making venture. Too bad for the human carnage.

Without getting all Robert Reich-y on you, let me point out a few areas where homelessness is profitable.


Millions of Families Would Benefit

Director Chloe Zhao speaks with actress Frances McDormand on the set of their movie “Nomadland,” which depicts the life of a homeless woman forced to live out of her van. (AP)

Hey, Frances!

Have you recovered from filming Nomadland? Before you take on another project, let me suggest Nomadland 2, a film focusing on family homelessness. It will be even more earthshaking than #1.

Sometimes you do what you gotta do. We didn't see the true pace that I'm sure Amazon insists on in reality.

Doubling Up Doubles Depression for Kids and Adults

Strong boy faces daunting future. Photo Diane Nilan

The Ides of May, the day I just mentally snapped about depression. Not mine. I’m just hit with the pervasive nature of this debilitating condition that seems to affect more people than I can imagine. And I worry about a huge segment of the population whose circumstances breed depression.

A recent Facebook thread from a woman I know pushed me over the edge. She has experienced more than her share of trauma-inducing incidents. She ranted on a tepid political post I made, saying that our government is totally useless and beyond redemption. My attempt to acknowledge the gist of what…

Quit the Hypocrisy!

Ellie made the best apple pies! Photo Diane Nilan

Mothers’ Day 2021…

hits a tender spot for me. Sunday, May 9 is the day my Mom, Ellie, died back in 2013. She had a great life, and she was able to bow out gracefully before the past 5 years or so of off-the-charts insanity (not mentioning any vile names). But, as the pandemic unfolds — still! — mothers continue to get the short end of the stick in our country, thus my call to eschew Mothers’ Day.

Seeing as we are all born to a mother, you’d think we’d have a bit of respect for those who’ve assumed that role. We have…

Pistol-packing mamas you aren’t! And you make a brilliant case for improving the offerings of education rather than making gun dealers rich. If logic has any place in this conundrum, yours wins by a long shot.

Diane Nilan

Founder/pres. HEAR US Inc., gives voice & visibility to homeless families & youth, ran shelters, advocate, filmmaker, author, 15 yrs. on US backroads.

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