Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Now that the TSOS (Temporary Safe Outdoor Space) has moved from its original location just off Highway 93 South near the Buckhouse Bridge to its new home with 40 hard-sided shelters just off West Broadway, KGVO News spoke with Jim Hicks, Executive Director of the Hope Rescue Mission for his thoughts about the transition.

Moving from Tents to Hard Sided Shelters

“The transition went smoother than we expected,” began Hicks. “We were able to get them moved along with their stuff within about two and a half working days because we had some closure things to do at the old site. But all in all, it went very smoothly. What added a bit of complication is that we added some folks from the Authorized Camping Site, and they were not as amenable to the rules and regulations that we have, so it took them a little bit of time to settle in.”

As bitter cold weather blanketed Missoula several times over the winter, Hicks said the new hard-sided shelters were quite literally life savers for the TSOS residents.

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The Hard Sided Shelters have Electric Service and Heaters

“Out in the camp, they had to use buddy heaters or propane heaters and that wasn't optimal and was also quite a cost to us or to them if they could pitch in,” he said. “But with these hard-sided shelters, they have electric heat and they've been kept very comfortable. So that that is just a big win, and when we get into the summer, we'll have the other side of that they have the capability of air conditioning.”

Hicks said ongoing funding for the TSOS has also experienced some hope.

“We're seeing some light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “We do have funding through the end of this year or through the end of June, and then almost guaranteed funding for another year from some leftover Cares Act and COVID money that was designated to the county and they're still going to use it for this particular project.”

Hicks said his Dream is to call the Site 'Island of Hope'

Hicks said his goal is to eventually rename the TSOS the ‘Island of Hope’.

"This is just in my heart," he said. "I just like to see that place called ‘Island of Hope’ as far as what is there, because our hope is they come (to the TSOS) they get some stability, they get the wraparound services, and they can then work on the issues they need to so that they can move forward. Our big picture is ‘street to shelter, to recovery to stability’. So that's kind of the big picture from our end.”

The TSOS is located just off West Broadway, adjacent to the new Trinity Apartments.

Inside Look at the New TSOS Shelters

The Temporary Safe Outdoor Space new hard-sided shelter facility officially opened on Thursday, January 5. The TSOS is just off West Broadway near the new Trinity affordable housing complex.

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