A former serviceman has reached out to help not only veterans, but anyone who is in need.
Brian Willcox started Boyup Brook Veterans' Retreat earlier this year to aid troubled veterans who are experiencing the same difficulties he had to overcome.
The 45 year old has since targetted homeless people, and has also taken in a victim of domestic abuse.
"What I'm hoping to do is build up a rapport with homeless people to get to veterans," he said.
Brian has two young sons with his partner Karen Timberlake, who plays an integral role in their voluntary service.
They have resided at their six-acre property for two years and intend to expand on it.
In recent times, they have hosted two or three veterans in caravans on the site for short-term stays at any given point.
"Karen and I will work with them to give them somewhere secluded and safe to give them what they need.”
Karen is studying a diploma in community services and will commence a counselling diploma at Boyanup TAFE after completion.
Last Thursday, MP Rick Wilson gave a speech in Parliament to the House of Representatives about the voluntary work Brian and Karen carry out.
Brian was posted to Campbell Barracks in Swanbourne, Perth - which led to his deployment to Afghanistan in 2000.
"When I came back I was pretty unwell psychologically so I was discharged by the army in May 2005."
He is no longer permitted to work after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic adjustment disorder.
He relies on entitlements from the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
"I wanted to do this because I want to help other people get what they're entitled to from the DVA.
“I wasn't aware I was broken in the head until a couple of years later,” Brian added.
”A lot of people with PTS just hide and seclude themselves."
Veterans opting for a reclusive lifestyle was not by choice but as a safety barrier, he said.
"It's just the way it works in your head, it's just that you don't want to associate with people in general.
"Before I got PTS I was out and about everywhere."
Understanding the needs of veterans and homeless people comes from experience for Brian, who slept rough for period after his return from service at time where he felt helpless.
"I was suicidal to the point that they took me to Graylands Hospital for a day, which was enough to scare me off from not being there."
Brian spent most of 2010 in Nedlands doing a trauma recovery course.
One of the first people he took in was Jason Smithwick, a veteran who was homeless at the time of finding.
Jason underwent the same recovery course under Brian's recommendation, and now lives in Mayanup.
"As far as I'm concerned, what [Brian] is doing is a good thing. He has helped me out heaps, I'm very appreciative," Jason said in an online video of gratitude.
An important aspect of moving forward with their lives is to keep busy, which is why Brian is encouraging his stayers to get involved with men’s sheds.
"I find with PTS you've got to keep busy, otherwise your mind starts playing silly games with you," Brian said.
He communicates regularly with the police and corrective services to inform them of who they have staying with them.
"What I’d like to see is the guys who are really high risk go to hospital and get some treatment before they come here.
"There's a lot of veterans in town. Veteran to veteran talk is a lot better than police telling them what to do.
"We had a domestic violence lady stay with us. She came and stayed here for about six weeks; she went back to him.
“We did all we could – we couldn't stop her."
Brian will invite Jason and other past stayers over for a Christmas Day gathering.
"I am looking forward to helping more people. I get satisfaction from seeing people do good," he said.
In a recent public statement, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said the government’s support for Australia’ homeless veterans was of the highest priority.
To make a donation towards the Boyup Brook Veterans' Retreat refuge, visit: gofundme.com/save-our-veterans
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.