"We've been a long time planning for this, so we're excited," Carrion said.
Margaret Taylor has been the program director at Sojourner's for the past 20 years. Taylor said there are many misconceptions about homeless people. People think the homeless are all lazy or addicted to drugs, she said.
"These are individuals, just like you and I, that have fallen on hard times," Taylor said. "They want to make a difference in their lives."
Sojourner's offers educational and job readiness programs and other services to residents. About 86 percent of people who come through Sojourner's find or maintain employment, she said. Only 5 percent have to come back to the shelter after they've gone. The goal is to make people self-sufficient.
Pendleton came to the YWCA Sojourner's Shelter in the early 2000s. She was homeless, unemployable and a drug addict, she said. She credits the shelter for helping her change her life. She's been employed at a Charleston hotel for about 10 years and owns her own cleaning business. She successfully fought to regain custody of her son.
Pendleton, who wants to write her own book about her life one day, said telling her story is a way for her to help others who may be going through the same thing. People sometimes think that once they cross a line and start doing drugs, there's no going back, she said.
"I want to get hope to people that people do change," Pendleton said.
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.