CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Economic stability is the goal of The Sisters of Charity Foundation. The foundation has been conducting research over the years to get a better perspective on what’s needed in the Lowcountry.

Sisters of Charity Public Director, Chynna A. Phillips, says “the foundation has always been concerned about what can we do to reduce poverty.” They hope to “create and have dialogue and go forward in a creative way.”

Dr. Melinda Merrell at the University of South Carolina, who helped conduct the research says, “I think we truly needed a statewide perspective on the issue of poverty and not one that just counted the number of people who sort of quote on quote need our help.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 16% of South Carolina residents are living in poverty, compared to the national average which is around 14%.

South Carolina is ranked number one in the nation for the highest eviction rate and North Charleston is ranked number one in the nation.

“North Charleston was actually ranked first with an eviction rate and Columbia was ranked eighth,” Merrell says.

Across the state, there are over 4,000 people living homeless and many of those people are living in the Lowcountry.

The organization says the goal of this research is to find the people who are impoverished and give them hope.

“Our hope is that we learn together so we will continue to educate the public on what poverty truly is in our state,” Phillips says.

The director says that the perspective people have about the situation needs to change because this situation impacts people you see in your day-to-day life.

“Poverty does not only look like an individual who is homeless or experiencing homelessness, but a person experiencing poverty can be right there working next to you in your office.”