Unhoused member of Missoula working group calls for ‘safe space’ for urban campers

For the last two months, Brad Carlson has sat in a room with Missoula’s community leaders to find a solution for people living on the streets, a situation he knows well since he became homeless in 2021.

Carlson grew up in Missoula and West Yellowstone, and later worked inside the national park for roughly 15 years, mostly in tourism-related jobs.

Brad Carlson stands near the site where he used to live on West Broadway Island on Thursday. Carlson, who has been houseless since 2021 after losing his job in tourism to layoffs, has been active in the Missoula Urban Camping Working Group.


When he was laid off in 2021, he couldn’t afford to stay in the resort town and returned to Missoula. But the Garden City’s cost of living has been just as expensive, Carlson said, so he hasn’t nailed down permanent housing yet.

While most of his working group colleagues go home after each meeting, Carlson said he has been threatened with arrest, detained and assaulted in the public right-of-way while trying to find a place to rest

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