People are coming forward with offers to help Jeannie and Roger Cannell find housing following a Portland Press Herald story depicting their plight.
The plight of a homeless family forced to live in a van at a Maine Turnpike service plaza has captured widespread attention and attracted offers of assistance ranging from restaurant meals to a two-night hotel stay.
Thousands of people have read the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram storysince it was posted Sunday. A GoFundMe page had raised thousands of dollars by Monday night.
For the past three months, 63-year-old Jeanie Cannell, her 72-year-old husband, Roger, and his 50-year-old daughter Margaret Belanger have been sleeping in a van parked at the Kennebunk service plaza while they searched in vain for an apartment. They’ve been looking for more than seven months, since long before they were pushed into homelessness after leaving their apartment in Biddeford and after their winter rental in Old Orchard Beach ended.
Their situation has been complicated by Roger Cannell’s health problems. He has bladder cancer and undergoes chemotherapy once a week, as well as physical therapy twice a week for injuries from a devastating fall that ended his 29-year career as a dump truck driver for Shaw Brothers Construction. He is in constant, agonizing pain, the family says.