The History of COVE
Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters
COVE began in the early months of 1978. The original impetus for the formation of COVE, formally known as Region Four, was the lack of advocacy for rape survivors in
County. Through the efforts of volunteer community members, a program began through the funding of a director in February 1978, from the now defunct federal funding program CETA. In the beginning the local Community Mental Health sponsored the program and the Dept. of Social Services donated office space. By June of 1978, a 24-hour crisis line was established and staffed by volunteers, as it continues to be a volunteer crisis line yet today.
By January 1979, the paperwork was in place, we were officially incorporated as Region Four Community Services. At this time the first Board of Directors was seated and in the fall of 2004 became known as COVE With this all in place we then were eligible for, and received, funding from the Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board (DVPTB), the main provider of funding to domestic violence programs in
Michigan. Upon receipt of these monies our main focus became services to survivors of domestic violence. However, service for survivors of sexual assault continued. With the state funding we were given a four county service area: Oceana, Mason, Lake and
Counties. By June of 1979, COVE was able to obtain offices of their own located in Hart. At that time we functioned with a network of safe homes. Safe homes are private residences that are offered as shelter sights for limited periods of time, usually 3-5 days. Operating with safe homes and the 24-hour crisis line constituted the program until June 1981 when the program moved into a combination Shelter/Office.
The first Shelter was a tiny 3-bedroom home located on
State Street in Hart. The paid staff at that time consisted of a full-time Director, full-time Program Coordinator, a Shelter Manager who lived at the Shelter and was paid a stipend plus a per diem when there were shelter residents in the house, and a core group of volunteers. Although the first Shelter was tiny and we were literally tripping over each other, the program began to grow. This house no longer exists; it was torn down in 1994 and is now part of IGA's parking lot.
With a new director at the helm, and with a shelter manager and a program coordinator, the program moved in November 1983. Still located in Hart, the new shelter was a spacious 4-bedroom home complete with dining room, living room, kitchen, parlor, and a backyard. At first we thought we would get lost with all that space. As time progressed we went through many changes; from reporting standards, the addition of a full-time Client Advocate, to a full-time live-in Shelter Manager, to volunteers in multi-counties, and expanded programming at every level. Some staff roll over occurred and some staff remained steady. Our funding expanded to include DVPTB, two local
Michigan Dept. of Public Health, Federal Emergency Management monies (FEMA), Victims of Crime Act monies (VOCA), and the continuation of private donations. Some funding resources have remained; some have gone by the wayside. Through the changing funding sources, staff changes, funding requirements and the like, the program continued to both grow and change as the service demands deemed necessary. In January 1985, through
United Way dollars, we were able to open a part-time service outreach office in Ludington. The program coordinator began spending several days a week in the north office with the goal of expanding programming in
County. At the same time the Board of Directors began recruiting Mason County Board Members. With the continuing support of
County energies and dollars, discussion began on moving the shelter facility to
At the end of 1987, active plans were being made to move the shelter facility to Ludington. With the move to a larger population base, a more economically secure county and a community which had proven support for Region Four/COVE, the program began yet another phase of its growth. With the moving of the shelter, discussion centered on both the local and state levels as to the possibility of realigning Region Four's service area. The possibility of serving
County was becoming a reality. The status of Newaygo and
Counties were in the hands of the DVPTB. Many factors needed consideration; how to expand into the northern county, who would provide services to Lake and Newaygo, how would Region Four/COVE continue to service
County? As 1988 unfolded these questions were answered.
County is now under the WISE program in
County and Region Four/COVE served
County only for Sexual Assault services, and OASIS in Cadillac covered DV. In 1993 Region Four's funding changed again. At that time it was aligned that we serve DV and SA in
Lake, Mason and Oceana. Manistee has its own shelter. In the winter of 2004 the Board of Directors, at their Strategic Planning, determined a name change.