The Missoula County United Way and the Hope Rescue Mission hosted a listening session on Thursday to update the public on the TSOS (Temporary Safe Outdoor Space) located just off Highway 93 South near the Buckhouse Bridge.

Hope Rescue Mission Director Jim Hicks said there are a number of services being provided to the about 24 residents at the tent camp.

“We have The Partnership Health Center that's coming there and helping a couple times a week,” began Hicks. “We have a volunteer that can run meds to our residents to fill their prescriptions. We have case management by We Care Behavior by Pathways, Winds of Change and other case managers, and we have several churches that are partnering to provide showers; to provide food; to provide clothing and to provide other assistance as those residents would need.”

Hicks expanded on some of the other services that are being provided for the residents of the camp.

“The programs that we're offering include a resume workshop that's being worked on, financial and budgeting, art classes, poetry writing, the Genesis Process Change program,” he said. “Our program director is working on various recreational outdoor activities. We're working on a fly fishing lure and fly tying class that will be coming up. There are construction skills to build some planter boxes, some cooking classes, there's other programs that are that are in the works as well.”

Hicks stated the goals the Rescue Mission and other agencies have for each resident of the camp to help them successfully reenter society.

“Three unstated goals I had was that each person would have at least one or two steps in upward mobility, somehow gaining some traction towards housing,” he said. “The second thing was that there would be some normalcy in life, and that's what they're experiencing with some safe place to come back to and some security there. Then the third one was just some dignity, that people would look at them in the right way.”

TSOS Program Coordinator Ashley Corbally wrapped up the listening session with the following statement.

“Every one here is moving forward, but when they come on site, they are all in a very different place,” said Corbally. “Some of them are further along in their process, and in their journey they've already gotten on a list for housing, some of them have vouchers. For some of them, they are starting at the very, very most basic part and that takes time to walk through those processes, to walk through getting an identification. So sometimes it might take months for somebody that first comes on site, and sometimes it might take just a few weeks, but everybody is moving forward on a consistent basis.”

United Way Executive Director Susan Hay Patrick said the COVID 19 funds have already run out and that the TSOS camp is now operating on private donations and help from other agencies.

Anyone who would like to contribute funds, goods or services should contact the Hope Rescue Mission.


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