HometownBell County


As one homeless shelter closes, others may begin to see more residents

Cove House
Posted at 7:54 PM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-21 20:54:43-04

BELL COUNTY, TX  — Friends in Crisis, a homeless shelter in Killeen, closed its doors over the weekend. They will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Director of Programs Suzanne Armour said it takes an estimated $1,000 a day to run the shelter, averaging $30,000 a month, all of which comes from donations.

Without enough funds, the facility that has been open since 2015, is no longer able to operate.

"We average about 75 people a night," Armour said. "Last year, we served just under 800 people."

Those who have relied on the shelter's services are now left looking for help elsewhere.

"I was disappointed for the people that they're helping because they do help a lot of folks over there," said Cove House Executive Director Brian Hawkins. "Quite frankly, they had a large capacity and were doing an excellent job. It's unfortunate that they ran into this point in their operation where they just didn't have the funds to keep going."

The Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter is a long-term shelter in Copperas Cove, located about 15 minutes away from Friends in Crisis. It's made up of four small houses: one for women, one for men and two for families.

Hawkins said there's enough space for about 24 people.

"People usually stay for several weeks," Hawkins said.

Taylor Locker, 23, and Justice Lampkin, 22, were kicked out of their homes two weeks ago with nowhere else to go. Without family to take them in, they were worried about what would happen to them as well as their two-year-old son.

"I was just trying to figure out like, how was I going to put a roof over my child's head? I don't want my son out there on the streets like I would be," Locker said.

The young couple found themselves at Cove House, where they were given shelter and support as long as they actively search for employment. Cove House also provides them with food and clothing.

"Which is a good thing, helps us get a job, not be lazy," Lampkin said.

Lampkin has already found a few options that will pay him well enough to save for a new home.

Hawkins said their homes typically remain full at all times. With less space to offer, Hawkins said he hasn't seen a change in their numbers.

"I was thinking we'd see a little more of an impact than we have, but I believe part of the reason is a transportation issue," Hawkins said. "It would be very difficult for a lot of them, with no transportation, to get from Killeen over to this shelter."

Hawkins is worried since he's not sure where these people will go for help.

"It's going to be a tough time and we are very concerned for those who have now found themselves on the street," Hawkins said. "Especially with summer coming up. During those months, it's very hard to not have a roof over your head."

To learn more about Cove House, click here.