COPPERAS COVE, TX — The Cove House is a long-term homeless shelter in Copperas Cove that helps people get back on their feet after they lose the roof over their head.
It also runs a free medical clinic where people without health insurance can get the care they need.
In January, the clinic began offering a new range of services, including mental health, women's health, cardiac care and STD testing.
Cove House Executive Director Brian Hawkins said more than 200 people are already taking advantage of the specialty care.
"It feels great because we know that we're meeting a need," Hawkins said. "We're always trying to expand what we're doing. We realize that a person's health is very important to them. We need to make sure that people are healthy so they can continue going to work so they can afford their place to live."
A 55-year-old woman who didn't want to be identified said the free clinic is changing her life for the better.
"I lost my job, so I started coming here because I don't have health insurance," said the woman.
The woman found another job, but she still can't afford health insurance. She's been going to to the clinic for the last three years for routine check-ups and medication.
On Thursday, she stopped by for her first mental health appointment.
The woman lost her father a few years back. Without anyone to talk to, she feel into depression. She's hoping a professional can help her through some of the pain.
"I'm really excited about talking with them and seeing what they can help me with," said the woman. "To be able to talk with someone and get it off my chest."
She isn't sure how many visits it will take to notice a difference, but the hope for a better future is enough to keep her coming back.
"There are a lot of people like me who need someone to talk to," said the woman. "I'm grateful for them, I'm very grateful for them."
In 2018, the clinic served about 1,500 people. With the addition of these new services, Hawkins expects them to serve 2,000 by the end of this year.
General care is offered Tuesday nights on a first come, first serve basis. Specialty care is offered on Thursday nights by appointment.
It will also offer free school immunizations on Thursday, Aug. 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The Cove House Free Clinic is located in the Ledger Medical Plaza, 806 E. Avenue D, Suite H. For more information, you can call 254-547-4673.