Temporary Safe Outdoor Space

Temporary Safe Outdoor Space

We're proud to be part of a local coalition working on this winter's Temporary Safe Outdoor Space.

Missoula’s Temporary “SOS” – Safe Outdoor Space

Frequently Asked Questions

What is it?

Missoula’s Temporary Safe Outdoor Space is a safe, healthy, secure, staffed (24/7) environment, on private land, that prioritizes serving – with dignity – people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic who are not accessing existing services or resources (approximately 40 people). A goal of Missoula TSOS is to offer people safe space during the pandemic and link them to appropriate, sustainable housing.

Missoula TSOS is a partnership between United Way of Missoula County, Hope Rescue Mission and other nonprofits, the faith community, law enforcement and other first responders, private businesses, county emergency management, and Reaching Home: Missoula’s 10-Year Plan to End homelessness. Estimated opening date: December 7, 2020.

Missoula TSOS includes the following facilities and services:

Why is this necessary?

For health and safety reasons, no local providers of shelter, food, or services are operating at full capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many unhoused people who are not reached by available services, or who face barriers to accessing services, are living on the streets or in their vehicles, which is not safe during a Montana winter. Many of those individuals have served our country and are veterans of the U.S. military. A number of them are currently living in unsafe environments, including in camps off Reserve Street. There are increased reports of people camping in local neighborhoods. These locations lack access to trash removal or bathrooms and pose an environmental, health and safety hazard for those who are camping and the community. Having a safe, legal, secure environment with health precautions and links to services reduces the demands on emergency responders and the health care system and results in better outcomes for everyone.

Where is it?

Missoula’s Temporary SOS is located on a parcel of privately owned land on Hwy. 93 South, below Miller Creek Road.

How many households are expected to use the TSOS?

There will be 20 campsites with tents, each on a platform spaced 12 feet apart. Maximum occupancy:  40 people.

How does this differ from the encampments on Reserve Street and elsewhere?

Missoula TSOS is a legal, staffed, secure site on private land with appropriate resources, including social services. It is a partnership between many diverse public, faith, and nonprofit stakeholders, all of whom believe this project can result in better outcomes for TSOS participants and the community as a whole.

What are the requirements for staying in the TSOS?

The TSOS is considered a “low-barrier” site, and participation is behavior-based. All participants will be required to initial and sign a written agreement – both when they enter initially, and whenever they come and go from the site – that includes behavioral expectations, rights, and responsibilities. Only approved participants in TSOS are allowed on the property, with a No Trespassing policy posted and enforced.

Who is managing the TSOS?

Pre-opening logistics are being directed by United Way of Missoula County and supported by Missoula County’s Office of Emergency Management. Hope Rescue Mission, in partnership with members of the local faith community – principally River of Life and Cornerstone churches – will manage the site, providing outreach and case management, with the goal of linking TSOS participants with services, including long-term housing.

How is the TSOS funded?

The land has been donated at no charge. Ramp-up costs include the costs of site preparation, sleeping bags, tents, platforms, heating elements, and staffing. These costs are partially covered by federal CARES Act funding through Dec. 31 and partially through community donations and support. Community partners involved in establishing the TSOS are actively seeking additional funding to sustain the site through the winter.   

Are there opportunities to support the TSOS?

To donate funds or goods: Hope Rescue Msn (mobilecause.com)

To apply to work or volunteer in the encampment: www.hopemontana.org; scroll down to the application form.

For further information:

Susan Hay Patrick, CEO, United Way of Missoula County: susan@missoulaunitedway.org

Jim Hicks, Executive Director, Hope Rescue Mission: TSOS@hopemontana.org

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