COPPERAS COVE — Cove House is expanding.

The emergency shelter purchased an apartment building with eight two-bedroom units in June. It’s the next step for the shelter, which experienced increasing demands for more beds and access to services.

When completed in about three months, the building will serve as a transitional housing facility, said Benjamin Tindall, Cove House executive director.

“Our current facility allows for short-term stays, typically two to four weeks,” Tindall said. “That’s an unrealistic amount of time for people to find a job and secure stable housing. In fact, it’s nearly impossible.”

Cove House currently accommodates up to 26 residents and is usually about three-quarters full.

“The space on-site is limited, and the new building will allow for huge growth,” Tindall said.

“The new building will allow for longer-term, transitional housing. The program we are developing allows for six- to 18-month stays, depending on each person’s situation. We will set benchmarks for various milestones, including employment status and growth in income.”

The shelter will require longer-term residents to pay rent and basic utilities, and they will be held accountable to a budget.

Belinda Parrilla, resident manager and a Cove House employee for nearly three years, said it’s exciting to see the shelter’s goals being reached. She handles much of the day-to-day interactions with residents, including assessing their needs.

“I try to encourage motivation to help people help themselves as much as possible,” she said.

Tindall said the shelter wants to remove barriers that keep individuals from obtaining and maintaining a stable living situation, with the ultimate objective of permanently removing people from the cycle of poverty.

“Our goal is to help people obtain steady employment with a livable wage and a permanent housing situation,” he said.

As the apartment building undergoes renovations, the Cove House team will develop a program for it, setting policies, rules and expectations for future long-term residents.

The shelter is seeking grant writers to help secure additional funds. Eventually, they hope to hire a transitional housing program director to run future programming, Tindall said.

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