As temperatures plummet and the wind chill factor heads below zero, Missoula’s Temporary Safe Outdoor Space (TSOS) camp is in desperate need of help in keeping their residents warm.

KGVO News spoke to April Seat, Director of Outreach at Missoula’s Hope Rescue Mission and Site Director of the TSOS about their most immediate needs to keep their 24 residents in 20 separate tents out of the frigid cold.

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“All the heat that we do use is propane and we are filling up about 20 of those at the moment,” said Seat. “We filled some last night to make sure people stay as warm as they can until we can figure some things out this morning. So we need propane, since we're no longer allowed to burn wood out here. But what I'm really looking for is some insulation because the wind is probably the biggest concern with the heat that is in those tents. We're trying to find some type of insulation to put around so that we can stop the wind from coming through the zippers on the tents.”

Seat laid out the essential needs at the TSOS camp to help them get through the cold snap.

“If you have any type of zero degree sleeping bags,” she said. We need (propane) fuel for our generators so we can continue to run and also keep the warming tent comfortable with our electric heaters. Right now we're just trying to buckle down these wall tents to make sure that we can get them as tight as we can and really just stop the air from going in there. It was cold last night so we have a lot of work to do today but propane is a huge need, as well as some type of insulation for the door.”

Seat said if conditions become too dangerous for TSOS residents to stay at the camp, then other options are in play to keep them safe.

“What we'll do is we'll work with (the) J Street (Johnson Street Shelter) and see where they're at as far as numbers and if we can get some folks to stay over there. Then if not, we’ll work with the United Way to see if we can possibly get them into a hotel or a safe space to sleep. So it just depends on how many people are staying at Johnson Street and the Poverello Center. If they're at capacity, then we definitely will do whatever we can to get them in a hotel or a safe place.”

Seat said there are some motels in Missoula that work with the TSOS in times of emergency.

“There are a couple (of motels) that we do work with and they work really well with what we're doing and if they have availability then we can do that, or I’ll work with the Office of Emergency Management and see what we can strategize from there. But either way, we will come up with a plan to keep people safe.”

Any fuel gift cards to purchase propane can be dropped off at the Hope Rescue Mission, located at 702 Southwest Higgins in Missoula.

There is no public access to the TSOS camp itself located just off Highway 93 South across from the Buckhouse Bridge.

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