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  • Writer's pictureJim Strawn

Since 1981 Roark-Sullivan Lifeway Center Has Been A Shining Light

The Roark-Sullivan Lifeway Center is an independent non-profit agency serving the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia and a provider of emergency shelter, transitional, and permanent supportive housing to those experiencing homelessness. In addition to housing assistance after care and supportive services such as rapid rehousing, attainment of Social Security and other eligible benefits, referrals for substance abuse and mental health treatment, healthcare coordination, peer counseling, and other case management services for individuals 18 years of age and older and experiencing homelessness.

Our mission is to provide a supportive environment and comprehensive services for individuals who are experiencing the crisis of homelessness so they can get back on their feet, become as self-sufficient as their abilities will allow, and provide them with the skills that will assist them in not returning to homelessness.

The Roark-Sullivan Lifeway Center was formed in 1981 as the Charleston Men’s Emergency Shelter through an initiative led by the City of Charleston to address the local issue of homelessness. Over the years we have grown in tremendous ways increasing and diversifying our services with the goal of ending chronic and Veterans homelessness.

Our center is named after former Charleston, WV Mayor, Mike Roark and Reverend Leon Sullivan.

James "Mike" Roark, served as Mayor of Charleston, WV in the late 1980s.

Reverend Leon Howard Sullivan Jr. was a successful minister, civil rights advocate, humanitarian and corporate leader known for his creation of the Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America and the Sullivan Principles to promote political reform in South Africa.  

Leon Sullivan was born in Charleston, West Virginia on October 16, 1922.  He attended racially segregated schools in Charleston and then received a basketball and football scholarship at predominately black West Virginia State College.  A foot injury ended his athletic career and forced Sullivan to work in a steel mill to pay for college tuition.

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