Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Temporary Safe Outdoor Space (TSOS) new hard-sided shelter facility officially opens on Thursday, January 5 just off West Broadway near the new Trinity affordable housing complex.

KGVO News was part of a special presentation for local media on Wednesday for a tour of the new facility that contains 30 new hard-sided shelters.

Eric Legvold, Director of Impact at the Missoula County United Way said he went looking for a shelter that would replace the tents at the original TSOS just off Highway 93 South.

The New TSOS Hard Sided Shelter Facility Opens on Thursday

“I actually went on a road trip and did research across seven different sites in the west and I came across the Pallet Shelter organization, and came to realize that this would be most likely our best bet for providing something that is hard-sided, that is safe, secure, and can operate in a facility like we want. These are 100 square foot structures that have heaters, that have AC (air conditioning) units during the summer; that have a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm, and that have fire extinguishers, a capacity for two beds if need be, and a locking door.”

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April Seat, Director of Outreach for the Hope Rescue Mission also spoke to KGVO about the continuing effort to help houseless individuals move forward in their effort to join the Missoula community.

"We deal with them one on one, find out what like root causes are, how are we going to get them from homelessness to stability," said Seat.  "It's just incredible to see how many people actually want to follow the rules. I want to sign that user agreement. I want to continue to move forward. So it's amazing that we're not finding people dead on the streets. And that's one of the biggest things is no one has passed away due to the elements since we started this. So that's a blessing and it's incredible."

TSOS Residents must Sign a Commitment of Rights and Responsibilities

Jim Hicks, Director of Missoula’s Hope Rescue Mission also weighed in on how this new improved facility will help those who need it most.

“It is a safe space for people to come and gain some stability on their journey towards housing,” said Hicks. “We will provide the same service-rich environment that will provide the services that are needed. It is still behavioral-based for those that are here, so those that are here will have a desire to move forward. We do that through interviewing. They sign rights and responsibilities, and then we come alongside to help them move forward and we’re glad to do so.”

Another staunch supporter of the TSOS project is Susan Hay Patrick, Executive Director of Missoula’s United Way who spoke at the grand opening press conference.

“It's really an honor and a joy to be part of something that is so positive, a Temporary Safe Outdoor Space that is a temporary way station for people on the journey to housing,” said Hay Patrick. “People who are ready to become more self-reliant, including moving into permanent housing, ready to accept services ready to build the kind of relationships that we all want. These Pallet Shelters are a much more humane, safe, and visually appealing alternative than living in tents. There'll be connected to services and connected to utilities. It's really a great day; great for the residents and great for our community.”

$1.4 Million Funding Came from ARPA Monies

The TSOS facilities have been funded with ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) monies. Costs to set up the site are about $1.4 million, including the hard-sided shelters, bathrooms, a shower facility, an office as well as construction. The annual cost for the Hope Rescue Mission to operate the site is about $408,000.

Current residents at the TSOS tent facility will have the first opportunity to use the new hard-sided shelters.

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