Just when it seemed there was no choice but to put a len’s low-barrier homeless shelter in Eastgate next to existing day cares, schools, a college and residences, Jared Nieuwenhuis stepped up to the podium during a City Council meeting on April 3 and offered an alternate site. A site so close to where the men’s emergency winter shelter had been run for years without incident that it should have been an obvious consideration.
Why would a person who works compassionately on two boards to address the issue of homelessness in our area speak in support of a neighborhood whose residents oppose a shelter in their neighborhood? Because that person cares deeply about his city as well as the homeless, and knows there is a better solution that can work for all of Bellevue. Jared Nieuwenhuis, a natural consensus builder, stood up this spring and proposed an alternate site for the shelter in Bellevue. With his history on the boards of both Sophia Way and Lifewire (formerly Eastside Domestic Violence), Mr. Nieuwenhuis was in a unique position to be able to see many sides to this complex and potentially divisive issue facing our city.
He recognized that the compassionate people of Bellevue wanted a men’s shelter but there were obstacles that would need to be overcome. The extraordinary thing is that Jared listened first. It is obvious that listening is simply in Jared’s nature and points to why he would make an excellent council member. He listens to his neighbors, his family, his friends and his colleagues and for quite a while now to neighborhoods across Bellevue. His friendly smile and jovial manner are engaging and people just naturally are drawn to him. He has won support from neighborhoods all across Bellevue not just by being a heck of a nice guy but also a problem solving person who will work with and on behalf of the people of Bellevue.
Nieuwenhuis is running to bring out the best Bellevue has to offer not just in the exciting new areas, but also in the established neighborhoods of which we are so proud.
At a time when national politics may have people discouraged, Bellevue has the opportunity to look to Bellevue’s spirit of inclusion, diversity and innovation rather than be dragged down by larger divisions far away and elect a local guy with infectious optimism, a can do attitude and insight into what’s possible when we all pull together.
Jared’s wife and daughter give him every reason to bring out the very best Bellevue has to offer and look forward to grand innovations that this city is in a unique position to foster.
In his professional life, Jared is involved in introducing girls to STEM through educational video games. He understands that tech will drive employment in the future and he knows the potential for women in tech. Jared Nieuwenhuis is a man who is invested in our daughters’ futures — now that’s something special.