NEW YORK — When you think of a homeless veteran - chances are a young, pregnant U.S. Marine is not the first image that comes to mind.
But here we are, standing at the front door of Nicole DiPaola's hidden oasis, her permanent home.
Last year — DiPaola was at the end of her rope.
She was with child and out of options.
“I was in the hospital actually, and when i got out of the hospital, i didn’t have any place to go,"said DiPaola. "So i was homeless.”
A week later, the staff at Concern for Independent Living broke the news that would change their lives.
This U.S. military veteran had a home, she would not have to raise her newborn son Johnny - on the streets.
On the other side of the complex, Stefan Holestein spends his days differently from Nicole.
“It’s a good thing i have a wheelchair, I wouldn't be able to get around the damn place,” Holstein said.
Holstein was a 2nd Class Petty Officer in the Navy. He specialized in underwater demolitions.
After years of living in the woods and shelters across Long Island, he admits.
However, Stefan's story is different than most because the 65-year-old will soon be gone.
Stage 4 terminal cancer is a war he cannot win yet he is grateful.
Pix11’s Jay Dow and Mario Diaz are lifting the lid on homelessness — exposing the harsh reality of the new face of homelessness across our region.