Monday, April 29, 2013

Homeless Mother’s Day Tribute: Suffer In Silence No More

Seven women share their stories of homelessness that resound nationwide and throughout
Melissa, one of the OTE women
affluent DuPage County.
[Naperville, IL, April 29, 2013] The award-winning documentary, on the edge: Family Homelessness in America, riveting stories of seven women’s experiences of homelessness, returns to Naperville Friday, May 10, 7 pm, the monthly feature of DuPage Peace With Justice Coalition’s Just Views film night.

“This is a timely event, on Mother’s Day weekend, because of millions of invisible mothers who experience homelessness,” points out Diane Nilan, founder and president of HEAR US Inc., a Naperville-based national nonprofit to give voice and visibility to homeless families. Nilan and Professor Laura Vazquez filmed and produced the documentary, which has won several honors and has aired on PBS.

Listening to mothers speak of their path to and through homelessness gives a perspective not often considered, according to Nilan, a national authority on this issue. “The audience response to this film continues to be quite gratifying," she pointed out. She’s screened OTE to a variety of audiences from Congress to corrections’ facilities to colleges as she’s traveled for the past 8 years in her small motorhome on her mission to incite a “compassion epidemic” to address homelessness. “Audiences hear the stories of experts, women who capably articulate the challenges of homelessness from their day-to-day struggles. As sad as their stories are, they are also inspiring.”

The film has relevance here in DuPage, one of the wealthiest counties in the country. Many families experiencing homelessness in the area are invisible, not staying at shelters. With over 17,000 in the county living in deep poverty, half the poverty level, thousand of families and individuals fall into and face a steep climb out of homelessness, with shelter beds full and subsidized housing unavailable.  The sequester and continuing economic unrest will add to these numbers.

Nilan will lead a discussion following the film screening. The event, held at the DuPage Unitarian Universalist church, 1828 Old Naperville Rd., Naperville, is open to the public, no charge. Copies of the on the edge DVDs will be available for sale at the event, $30. Info or

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