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Two families celebrate Christmas in new duplex at Cove House

Cove Leader-Press 

It’s been a long time coming, but Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter is enlarging its footprint at its North Main Street and Halstead Avenue properties. 
On Dec. 15, the shelter cut the ribbon on a newly constructed duplex. Gray skies and rainy drizzle didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.
It took 63 days from permitting to completion to construct the duplex on North Main St., said Cove House’s Executive Director, Brian Hawkins. 
Both sides of the building have two-bedroom, one-bath apartments that mirror each other in layout. And the families who moved in over the weekend are ready to celebrate Christmas, with trees and gifts waiting for them. One side of the duplex now houses a family of five, and the other houses a mother and her children.
“We couldn’t be prouder. We couldn’t do it without the people standing here today supporting us,” said Hawkins. 
Along with Cove House board members, city staff and representatives of Dewald Construction were present for the ribbon cutting. Pastor Mark Kemp with First Baptist Church said a prayer prior to the ribbon being cut.
The duplex has attached storage at the rear of the building along with a small fenced courtyard area, where Hawkins said there will be outdoor toys for resident children to play on. 
However, the work at Cove House is not finished. 
The completion of the duplex is phase one of a project that when all is said and done, will expand the shelter’s footprint to two duplexes and one six-plex on the properties. 
Prior to the construction of the duplex, the shelter had four units of housing, with a capacity to house six women, six men, and two families at a time. 
In early 2024, the shelter will break ground on a brand-new, two-story six-plex on the property. 
The project is partly made possible by grant funds – a grant which Hawkins applied for a good two years ago – that required matching funds. 
Earlier this summer, the Copperas Cove city council agreed to allocated approximately $500,000 of the city’s federal ARPA Covid relief funds to Cove House, to help fund the six-plex construction. 
Thanks to the matching funds, the shelter was able to receive an additional grant which helped construct the duplex.
In late 2024, after the six-plex is constructed, the shelter’s capacity will be eight units total and double its current capacity.
In 2022, Cove House had to deny services to 39 men and 28 women, 13 of whom were veterans, as well as 110 families. The shelter will likely turn as many away, if not more, in 2023.
When Hawkins first became executive director almost 12 years ago, the program at Cove House was a two-week temporary housing program, and he quickly saw that two weeks was simply not enough for an individual, let alone a family, get on their feet where a job and housing are concerned. Even if people have employment, it takes time to save for deposits and more.
The shelter’s need to expand is only highlighted by the very real housing problem in Copperas Cove.
During the housing “boom” of the last few years, many sold off properties for the cash. Then, with increasing tax bills, many property owners raised their rents by as much as 30 to 40 percent, to cover the increased costs of keeping a property. Or, if property owners sold their homes occupied by tenants, those tenants often end up joining the search for a new home and facing the increased rent costs.
The shelter’s program, called “Firm Foundation,” gives its residents the tools and resources to get on their feet. Residents must work and follow a plan to fund the deposits and more required to get into their own rental.

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207