Agencies to Host Community Forum on Possible Extension of Temporary Safe Outdoor Space 

The local agencies and organizations that have partnered to stand up Missoula’s Temporary Safe Outdoor Space will hold a community forum to share how the project is going and discuss the possibility of extending it beyond the current public health emergency.   

The virtual forum will take place from 12 to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, via Microsoft Teams. Members of the public and news media can join the session using the following information: 

Microsoft Teams meeting
Join on your computer or mobile app
Click here to join the meeting 
Or call in (audio only)
 +1 406-272-4824 
Phone Conference ID: 900 656 388# 

The TSOS is a safe, healthy, secure area on private land, staffed 24/7, that currently supports around two dozen unsheltered people during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is operated by Hope Rescue Mission with logistical support from United Way of Missoula County and Missoula County government.   

Initially set up in response to the public health emergency, the TSOS has successfully supported 53 total residents, connecting them to regular case management and other critical services. Since the space opened in mid-December, the TSOS has transitioned seven people into housing, and four have received housing approval and are waiting to move or are close to securing emergency housing through the YWCA. Six individuals have obtained or are close to obtaining IDs, which greatly increases the chance of securing permanent housing and employment. In addition, four individuals have become employed since moving to the TSOS, and one has been accepted as a student at the University of Montana. There has been only one law-enforcement call to the site, which was resolved quickly, and only a few medical emergencies requiring first responders.  

Because of this success, organizers are exploring the possibility of continuing the TSOS at its current location as a viable, longer-term transitional housing option for people experiencing homelessness. Organizers have started reaching out to area businesses and homeowners about possibly extending the current site, and they encourage members of the public to attend the community forum to learn more and ask questions. If organizers decide to pursue an extension, it would follow the standard regulatory process required of any other non-emergency project. 

The listening session will feature Susan Hay Patrick, CEO of United Way of Missoula County; Eric Legvold, director of impact at United Way; Jim Hicks, executive director of Hope Rescue Mission; and April Seat, the Mission’s director of outreach. County officials, including the three commissioners, will also attend the forum and answer questions as needed.  

Reimbursement through federal CARES Act funding, emergency support grants from the Human Resource Council and private donations have funded the cost to set up and operate the TSOS so far. Missoula County is currently researching opportunities to fund continued TSOS operations with funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, which has approximately $5 billion designated to address homelessness across the country. Both United Way and Hope Rescue Mission continue to seek and secure private donations to support the site’s operation. 

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