Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - In June 2023, Jim Hicks with the Hope Rescue Mission appeared on our KGVO Talk Back show to answer questions from listeners about the new location of the TSOS (Temporary Safe Outdoor Space) near the Missoula County Detention Center.

On Wednesday, Hicks was back on County Talk with Commissioners Dave Strohmaier and Juanita Vero with an update.

Jim Hicks with Hope Rescue Mission Provides a TSOS Update

“We've served 390 (homeless persons) since December 2020,” began Hicks. “Of those, 185 have been housed since that time, and there are 21 of those participants that went into long term recovery. There are others that were safely reunited with their family or self-resolved in the midst of that or moved back here or there across Montana. But we're still seeing that progress going from housing and food insecurity to being stable and having a job.”

Hicks was asked about how many people can possibly be helped through the TSOS program.

He said Services Offered will Help get Homeless People on their Feet

“Let's say there are 800 unhoused folks in Missoula, so that means there are 800 nuanced individual stories,” he said. “As we receive folks onto the site, we have to learn their story and find out what they're missing and then through wraparound services, help them move forward. It can be as easy or as complicated as getting them an ID, a driver's license or getting their Social Security lined out or whatever it might be, so that they can get a job to move forward.”

One caller asked if there could be more TSOS sites in western Montana.

“It would definitely be great to see more of these set up to help people move forward, but the issue is staffing and funding, right?” he asked. “It comes down to that, because we're very particular about our staff. We want them to have some lived experience or some training, because these are complicated stories with complicated personalities.”

READ MORE: Missoula's Hope Rescue Mission Talks Homelessness and the TSOS

Hicks said the TSOS Program in Missoula is Unique

Hicks said he has received inquiries from all over the country about setting up TSOS programs, but he said Missoula’s program is unique.

“We've had folks show up from Anchorage, Alaska; from the east coast and from New Mexico,” he said. “If they haven't showed up, they've called to see what we're doing and how we're doing it. And when they ask ‘how did you do this’? I said, well, we've got some great partnerships with the county and with United Way and for a lot of people it stops right there. They say ‘well, we can't talk to our city or county or just that nobody will listen’. Well, a big part of the success of TSOS has been our partnerships.”

Hicks said he and his staff are facing the end of their federal funding in 2026, and will have the challenge of finding more local funding in these difficult economic times.

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.

Gallery Credit: Nick Chrestenson

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