Belonging to Each Other (BTEO) is a coalition of volunteers from 9 Falmouth congregations and other community members, founded in late 2015 to address the problem of homelessness in our community. BTEO provides temporary housing, food, transportation and social services for men and women experiencing homelessness in Falmouth during the cold weather months, while helping clients identify more stable housing and/or necessary services. It is a high touch, high intensity model.
Who We Serve
Our population consists of individuals over 18 years of age in Falmouth who are experiencing homelessness. We will house our residents in rental houses during cold weather months. We can accommodate up to 12 homeless men and women at a time, from October through mid April. As clients transition out to more stable housing, other individuals who meet our eligibility criteria will cycle into available spots. Housing services are provided year-round to assist persons experiencing housing insecurity.
BTEO was founded in 2015 in response to an awareness of a growing homeless population in Falmouth. As an organization we believe strongly that we should provide for the most vulnerable among us, allowing them to remain in their own community.
In the fall of 2015, seven faith-based institutions quickly mobilized and formulated a basic mission statement, which continues to describe our program: “To provide temporary housing and loving support to our Falmouth neighbors experiencing homelessness.” Within 90 days we had a plan in place. That winter we housed and fed 27 homeless men and women (up to 8 at a time) in motel rooms for more than three months. The community responded generously with their time and their money. At the end of our first season, the majority of our clients had transitioned into more stable living arrangements.
On December 1, 2016, BTEO began its second year of operation. We partnered with the Housing Assistance Corporation (HAC) and Falmouth Human Services (FHS) to fund a part-time case manager for an expanded four-month winter program. We again rented motel rooms, but we also partnered with two landlords – the Falmouth Housing Corporation (FHC) and a “snowbird” couple – to rent two homes in Falmouth. These houses proved to be more cost-effective than motel rooms and also provided more dignified living arrangements.
From December 1, 2016, through March 31, 2017, BTEO provided housing, case management, friendship, food, transportation, and other critical services to 23 homeless men and women (up to 12 at a time).
In February 2017, we received notification from the IRS that our non-profit status was approved. Prior to this time, we had operated under the umbrella of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, which acted as our fiscal agent for purposes of donations. Now we were able to hire our own case workers and pay them directly rather than partnering with FHS and HAC to do so.
In 2017-2018, 60 homeless individuals were interviewed for our program and 36 of them were referred to other more appropriate resources (such as detox programs). The 24 homeless men and women who entered BTEO were housed during the four months in two rental homes (up to 12 at a time). During that winter, 10 of the 24 became employed, 11 of the 24 were helped onto housing voucher lists, and 4 of the individuals actually received housing vouchers while they were in our program.
In 2018-2019, BTEO expanded to operate for five months, from November 16th through April 15th. We interviewed 58 individuals, 23 of whom were referred to other resources and 35 of whom entered BTEO.
In 2019-2020 we again operated for five months, interviewed 42 homeless individuals, accepted 30 into BTEO, and by April the majority of them had transitioned into more stable housing or an appropriate program. Thus, during our first five seasons of operation, 139 homeless individuals in Falmouth who were at risk of dying of exposure during the harsh winter months instead were returned to health and well-being, were assisted and cared for, and were given an important new start in life.