Anchorage’s homelessness coordinator resigns

Dr. John Morris.
Dr. John Morris.
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 1:47 PM AKDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2021 at 2:51 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Dr. John Morris, Anchorage’s homelessness coordinator, has resigned from his position with the city.

Morris, a local anesthesiologist, had been in charge of developing the city’s plans in response to homelessness. He was a member of the team of Anchorage Assembly members and members of Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration working together on a new plan to house those experiencing homelessness with the help of a third-party facilitator.

Morris confirmed Thursday he is no longer working for the city, but declined to comment further.

“Mayor Bronson wants to thank him for his service and commitment to the Municipality of Anchorage,” wrote spokesperson Corey Allen Young in an email Thursday. “The focus and mission remains the same in helping our city’s most vulnerable get the compassionate care and resources they need. That includes working with the Anchorage Assembly with the strategy that involves housing, transitional housing, supportive housing, treatment, and navigation centers among other initiatives.”

Originally from West Virginia, Morris has lived in Anchorage since 2015. When Bronson named him as the head of developing Anchorage’s plan to tackle homelessness, he said at the time he liked Morris’ vision.

“The first part of the plan is partnerships,” Morris said back in June when his position was announced. “We’re going around and we’re talking to stakeholders, people that are doing shelter work here in town, and we’re asking them what’s working and what we might be able to do to make it better and easier for them, and until that process is done, we’re not going to release any of the details of the plan because it changes.”

Morris’ departure was discussed during an assembly worksession Thursday morning on the city’s mass care for people at the Sullivan Arena. Early in the meeting, Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance turned to Morris for comment, but there was no answer.

Assembly member Jamie Allard then told the other people in the virtual meeting that Morris had resigned on Monday. LaFrance responded she hadn’t been aware of the resignation. Anchorage Health Department Director Joe Gerace said during the meeting that, as of Thursday morning, he was not aware Morris had left the city.

Morris is one of a handful of resignations from Bronson’s administration recently. Craig Campbell, Bronson’s director of policy and programs, announced this month he was leaving for a position with Alaska Aerospace. Campbell, along with Morris, was a member of the group of administration members working on the new homelessness plan.

Bronson’s first pick for director of the Anchorage Health Department, David Morgan, resigned before his confirmation hearing could be held, under scrutiny for past comments he had made regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

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