This December will mark the 20th anniversary of residents living in Sunshine Home, which was built and funded by members of the Copperas Cove Exchange Club in 1993.
“The main idea behind the building was to provide a place for people to come and not worry about safety and live for a lot of years,” said Bud Owsley, who has served as Sunshine Home board chairman for 12 years. “The doors opened in February of 1994, but the first resident moved in December of 1993. We let her move in because she didn’t have anywhere else to go.”
The reason the club built the facility was to offer low-income housing for adults 62 and older. Since then, the apartment complex has continued to operate with that mission.
“I’m so thankful I found this place,” said Maxine Allen, a Sunshine Home resident. “I was about to become homeless, and then my church pointed me here, and now I’m just so happy here.”
The facility and its board, the Exchange Sunshine Home Corporation, promote the facility as an apartment complex where seniors can live independent and healthy lives.
“It’s important to have a place like this,” Owsley said. “I live on my own, and I know how important it is to maintain that. You like your privacy, your independence, and this facility provides that.”
Sunshine Home resident Mary Thomason said the facility grants her the independence she wants while making the place affordable.
“I love it here,” Thomason said. “Let me tell you, it’s great. I don’t have to do my dishes if I don’t want to, I don’t have to make my bed if I don’t want to. (I’ll) never find another place like this.”
While giving those who live in the 50-unit complex their freedom, the facility also offers residents a community for which to take part in.
“It feels different than a normal apartment building,” Owsley said. “There’s a sense of community here that you don’t get if it was just another apartment. It’s kind of like a family.”
In 1987, Sunshine Home was founded by the Rev. David Gardener, who learned about low-income retirement housing at a regional development meeting in Brownwood. There, he was approached by Cameron Already, an architect who was interested in building a facility in Copperas Cove.
After returning to Cove, Gardener approached the Exchange Club to see if members would be interested in pursuing the project. The civic organization’s board approved forming of the Exchange Sunshine Home Corporation, which operates independently of the Copperas Cove Exchange. The group then pursued grants and fundraising to pay for the construction of the apartment complex.
Since its creation, the facility has been a success, said Angela Fields the manager of Sunshine Home.
“There actually is quite a long wait list for people to live here,” Fields said.
“This is not a nursing home or a retirement home. Our residents are able to take care of themselves, and we provide a safe, secure environment for them.”