Share story

Bellevue residents should remember that no one wakes up one morning and says, “Hey, I think I’ll shoot up heroin today.” There are life experiences and circumstances that lead a person to that point. [“Thank you, Bellevue, for stepping up for homeless,” Opinion, Nov. 2].

As someone who has counted people sleeping outside on cold January nights in Seattle (One Night Count) and who has supported young people who are on the verge of homelessness due to their mental-health conditions or addiction, I have had the privilege to see these individuals as beautiful, compassionate and driven people with a story to tell and a life to live. They are no different from your neighbor, child, cousin or friend.

For those who have not had this experience, I implore you to dig a little deeper into what drives people to end up on the streets or addicted to substances. I urge you to erase “NIMBY” from your vocabulary. And I challenge you to show compassion to your fellow neighbor, whether or not they have a roof over their head.

Parisa Ghebleh, Seattle