Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters (COVE) was established to provide shelter, protection, and advocacy to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault while also educating the community about the root causes of violence. For more than forty years, survivors in Mason, Lake, Oceana, and now Manistee counties have turned to COVE in times of need.
As a result of an inadequate support system for sexual assault survivors in Oceana County, a group of volunteers formed an organization formally known as Region Four Community Services. In the beginning, this grassroots volunteer program ran through Community Mental Health and operated out of a donated Department of Social Services building. After the establishment of COVE in 1978, these volunteers created the 24-hour crisis line in that same summer. By 1979, COVE operated out of Hart with a "safe homes" network (private residents offering shelter to survivors for a maximum of five days).
The first “official” shelter, a combination of communal living space and offices, opened in 1981 and continued operating in Hart until 1983. At this point, COVE was providing services to both victims of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. In order to expand available services while simultaneously expanding the service area, a part time Outreach Services position was added in 1985 to Ludington. By 1988, the shelter facility relocated to Ludington and COVE service area was subsequently redefined by the State of Michigan. As needs in the community continued to evolve in recent years, counselors were hired and our sexual assault services expanded to include a SANE (sexual assault nurse examiners) unit in 2017 in our new building.
In February of 2015 COVE moved to its present location, a state-of-the-art purpose driven facility, from what was now a 113-year-old building. This new facility is the first of its kind in Michigan doubling its residential capacity and allowing COVE to expand all services to survivors.