Frequently Asked Questions

How does a high school student become homeless?
Youth homelessness can be caused by family conflict, economic issues, or residential instability (NCH, 2007). Other reasons why a youth may end up homeless or unaccompanied include abuse or neglect in the home, the incarceration or death of a parent, being kicked out because of sexual orientation, pregnancy or eviction. For more information, view our quick fact sheet.

How are students selected to come to the Cove?
Students are invited to the Cove by the Waco ISD Homeless Population Specialist. If he/she feels a student is in need of Cove services, the specialist will refer the student to the Cove and notify our case manager.

Where will students go when they leave the Cove at 8pm?
The Cove’s case manager works with each student to learn if they have a safe place to sleep each night. The Cove has developed a menu of options for students to consider. In emergency situations, the case manager will work with students to find temporary housing.  

Why not open a shelter?
Waco’s homeless students are often “couch surfers,” meaning they sleep on the couch of a different friend or relative each night. While this is not ideal, it is safer than living on the street or in an adult homeless shelter. In talking with homeless youth, Waco ISD Homeless Outreach staff and interns have found that these students do not want a youth shelter. Research reiterates this sentiment and has found that shelters can have negative effects on adolescent development (Anooshian, 2005). 

Will you ever provide housing to students?
The Cove's long-term goal is to create a Host Home program in Waco. Host Homes are a nationally recognized model in which families temporarily open up their homes to students. Host Homes provide students with a consistent place to stay and a familial environment. You can learn more about the Host Home model here.

Is the Cove part of Waco ISD?
No, The Cove is registered a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves Waco ISD youth. In the future, we hope to expand our service offerings to other communities in Central Texas. 

Do you need volunteers?
Yes! The Cove is looking for caring, committed adults to fill the following volunteer roles: tutors, mentors, and meal providers. You can apply online here or contact us at 

Do you need donations?
Yes! While our primary need is financial donations, we also accept in-kind donations of items listed on our Wish List. Click here to donate online or find an up to date Wish List. 

Find our IRS From 990-N here.

If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us at


Anooshian, L. J. 2005. Violence and Aggression in the Lives of Homeless Children: A Review. Aggression and Violent Behavior 10(2): 129-152. Cited in: National Center for Children in Poverty, “Homeless Children and Youth: Causes and Consequences,”

National Alliance to End Homelessness, “What is a Host Home?” by Jessica Clark, Elliot Kennedy, Deborah Loon, and Edward SanFilippo, 8/29/13.  

NCH (National Coalition for the Homeless), “Factsheet #13: Homeless Youth,” August 2007.