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Jeanie Cannell and her stepdaughter Margaret Belanger gather their work clothes in the morning before heading inside the I-95 turnpike service plaza building in Kennebunk to change on July 21. Cannell, her husband, Roger Cannell, and Belanger have been homeless since they had to move out of an Old Orchard Beach winter rental three months ago. For the first month they lived in the van at a campground, but after summertime rates went into effect they could no longer afford it and moved the van to the service plaza. The women both work full-time at Cabela’s and have been looking for an apartment since long before they left Old Orchard Beach.


Roger Cannell sits at a picnic table at the turnpike service plaza while his wife and daughter sleep in the van on July 26. He is often unable to sleep because of near-constant pain from a devastating fall that ended his 29-year career as a dump truck driver. Cannell also has bladder cancer and goes to chemotherapy once a week.



Jeanie Cannell talks to a mechanic about a car repair at Seacoast Auto in Saco. The family brought their SUV to Seacoast because they could buy and bring in the parts themselves, meaning the shop will only charge for labor. The Cannells have no choice but to spend money to fix the car – it is their lifeline, allowing them to get to and from work, buy food and get to doctor appointments that they can’t miss.


Jeanie Cannell wipes a tear away inside of the van. She had just gotten off a shift at Cabela’s, where she works full time. “I’m so tired of this,” she said through tears.


The family sleeps inside the van near the electric car chargers at the service plaza on July 20. They always leave their van at the plaza and drive their car to work and appointments. Jeanie said that is because they can’t afford having anything happen to the van on the road.



Margaret Belanger gives her father, Roger Cannell, one of his multiple daily pills after waking up in the morning on July 21. Roger needs the women’s help to do many things, but they leave him alone at the service plaza when they go to work. If he has doctor’s appointments, he will take the car, or sit outside Cabela’s and wait for their shifts to end.


Jeanie Cannell closes her eyes for a moment as she sits inside the rest stop after changing into her pajamas.


Margaret Belanger washes her hands in the public restroom just after waking up the morning of July 21.



Roger and Jeanie Cannell lay on the bed in the back of their van on July 20 while Margaret Belanger sits on her makeshift bed on the floor.


Jeanie and Roger Cannell wait to be called to see the doctor at a medical appointment for Roger’s doctor appointment on Aug. 2. Roger was prescribed more medicine to manage his near constant pain from injuries sustained in a fall.



Belanger helps her father, Roger Cannell, slowly and safely cross the railroad tracks as two girls go around them after the couple ate dinner in Old Orchard Beach on July 22. The family has to eat meals out because they have no kitchen or refrigerator.



A woman who also was living at the turnpike plaza and preferred not to be identified, was helping the Cannells search for affordable housing. She comforts Roger Cannell as he slumps over and begins to cry from his chronic pain as the sun rises above the service plaza on July 21. Roger said the pain is worst in the morning after getting out of the cramped van. His pain medication has not been working and he hoped to go back to his doctor and try something new.


Jeanie Cannell shops for snacks and things they can keep in the cooler outside their van. Cannell commented many times while walking through the store on the high price of food because of inflation.


Jeanie Cannell wipes husband Roger Cannell’s face outside the hotel they spent the night in on July 25. The family stayed at the Kennebunk hotel the night before, paid for by a person who read their story in the Portland Press Herald, and the owner said he would put them up in a room for one more night. The three each got their own bed and Roger said he felt like he was finally able to get some sleep.



Roger Cannell rides his electric scooter to the bathrooms at the RV and trailer home park in Kennebunk where the family was temporarily living.


Jeanie Cannell brings her husband a piece of peanut butter toast after making his lunch in the RV. The RV was loaned to them for about a month by a couple who read their story in the Portland Press Herald.


Jeanie Cannell, her husband, Roger Cannell, and daughter Margaret Belanger drive by homes in Old Orchard Beach while running errands. Roger commented on the house saying, “I bet a house like that now costs $300,000.”



Jeanie Cannell and Roger Cannell laugh as they chat inside the RV.


Roger tenses up in pain outside the RV while he talks to his wife, Jeanie.  


Jeanie Cannell stands outside the hotel room in Kennebunk where she and her husband were living on Nov. 13. The couple moved into the hotel from an RV park in mid-October. They stopped applying for rental properties because they were trying to secure a loan for a mortgage to buy a trailer and were told they should not have their credit score checked with apartment applications during that time. The couple felt that buying their own place, rather than renting, may prevent them from ever ending up in this situation again.



Jeanie Cannell checks on Roger as he watches television inside their room on Nov. 13. Jeanie said they knew they could live at the motel until spring if they needed too, but after April the summer rates would kick in and they wouldn’t be able to afford it. Roger’s daughter Margaret had left two months earlier to be with family in another state.


Jeanie Cannell is comforted by her daughter-in-law as she cries outside the hotel they have been living in since the beginning of October. “I just want to live a normal life,” Cannell said through tears. The couple was ultimately denied a loan for a trailer a few weeks later.


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