Poverty Project - Coastal Carolina University
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The Poverty Project

The Poverty Project is designed to engage students in activist research with impoverished populations in Horry County.


Drs. Stephanie Southworth and Sara Brallier, along with students in their Sociology of Poverty (SOC 311), Social Inequality (SOC 309), Methods for the Social Sciences (SOC 331), and Independent Research (SOC 399) courses, engage in collaborative research with several agencies serving the impoverished in Horry County - Churches Assisting People (CAP) Food Panty in Conway, Shepherd’s Table Community Kitchen,  New Directions Homeless Shelters, and the East Coast Homelessness Organization (ECHO).  

The research projects are designed to guide students through the process of (1) assessing the needs of low-income individuals and the ability of local agencies to meet their needs, (2) educating community service organizations and the general public about the needs; (3) creating fundraising and educational opportunities to help agencies and the general public to better serve the impoverished. This project provides students with valuable experience conducting qualitive research. Drs. Southworth and Brallier along with their students have conducted over 250 interviews with people experiencing homelessness in Horry County.


The Rolling Forward Program

Initial findings from the study indicated that lack of reliable and affordable transportation to be a significant barrier to obtaining and maintaining employment, making and keeping healthcare and social service appointments, and maintaining their social support network. Using this information, we worked with the university and local communities to create the Rolling Forward Program, a bike share program which operates out of the local shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Over the past year we have continued to maintain and grow this program. We support bike share programs at New Directions, ECHO, and Seahaven Shelter/ Project Lighthouse.


Media coverage of the Rolling Forward Program:

Resource Fair for Homeless Community

Rolling Forward: CCU’s Bike Program for the Homeless, Progression

Homeless Population Research at CCU

Coastal Comeback – Sociology Research with the Homeless

Rolling Forward: Transportation Issues Are a Roadblock for Homeless People in Myrtle Beach

Coastal Now – Rolling Forward Anniversary

Help for the Homeless: Resource Fair 


Publications Related to Our Research


Southworth, S. & Brallier, S. (2021). Using community based learning to advance student understanding of the homeless. College Teaching, 69(2): 91-99.

Brallier, S. Southworth, S. & Ryan, B. (2019). Rolling Forward: addressing the needs of the homeless community. Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 28(2):96-105.


For more information contact: 

Stephanie Southworth, Ph.D. (ssouthwor@coastal.edu

Stephanie Southworth is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Coastal Carolina University. Her research focuses on ways to reduce social inequalities. Stephanie is very involved in the community and serves on the Board of Directors at Faith Outreach Ministries and Palmetto Literacy Council.


Sara Brallier, Ph.D. (brallier@coastal.edu

Sara Brallier is a Professor of Sociology at Coastal Carolina University (CCU) where she has been a faculty member since 2000. Her specializations are social gerontology, social inequality, and research methodology. Sara is also an active member of the university and local community. She serves on the executive board of CAP Food Pantry and of the Shepard’s Table Community Kitchen.  



 Sara Brallier and Stephanie Southworth at a Rolling Forward Event, April 2021