Hear their voices. Hear their stories. See their faces.

Myrtle Beach, SC and the surrounding Horry County community rank highest in the number of unsheltered homeless in the state. In a photo book and web series, homeless individuals and those working closely with them share their personal stories on dealing with homelessness in a tourist economy and discuss the misconceptions surrounding homelessness.

The Faces of Homelessness


After losing his job as a land surveyor, David now lives in a tent in the woods.

Ken Lobene

After retiring as senior field director for the United States Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Ken now diligently serves on the board of directors for New Directions in Myrtle Beach, SC..

Myrtle Beach Police

Officers Dave McConnaughy and Keith Deverell work closely in the city’s homeless regulatory unit, going on three years.

Ronnie & Kimberly

Ronnie and Kimberly, an engaged couple, struggle to find the appropriate housing that will accept their dog.

Stephen Stevens

After retiring from the United States Army, Stephen Stevens now dedicates his time working at ECHO (Eastern Carolina Homelessness Organization) and providing food and conversation to unsheltered homeless individuals.

Tina Doud Kearns

Works closely with homeless individuals as a nurse practitioner at the Little River Medical Center.

About this Project

After conducting a survey of just over 500 Horry County community members, the Swain Scholars at Coastal Carolina University found that there was a gap in the perceptions versus the national statistics on homelessness. For example, many community members perceived drug abuse to be the leading cause of homelessness. However, national statistics indicate that job loss was the leading cause.

This project, a collaborative effort between Athenaeum Press students and the Swain Scholars, is an attempt to give a place, a face and a name to the 492 and counting individuals in Myrtle Beach, and the caregivers, law enforcement and policy makers who balance their needs with those of a tourist town.

Student Contributors

  • Ashley Cochran, Photographer
  • Kerry Dittmeier, Swain Scholar/Researcher
  • Katelin Gandee, Photographer/Writer
  • Emma Kroger, Swain Scholar/Writer
  • Nancy Phillips, Swain Scholar/Writer
  • Jeremy Razook, Photographer/Writer
  • Drew Smith, Creative Director/Designer
  • Ronda Taylor, Graduate Assistant/Editor