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Henning Inc. Welcomes Audit from Anchorage Health Department

Henning Inc. remains committed to our vision for Anchorage and strives for full transparency. 

Anchorage: On Tuesday 21, 2024 screenshots from private conversations between Henning leadership and members of the Bronson Administration were presented to the Anchorage Assembly. Henning Inc. strives for transparency, and we welcome the audit from the Anchorage Health Department that was requested by the Assembly.  

Over three years, Henning has been Anchorage’s largest homeless operator, providing shelter and resources through emergency cold weather shelters and warming centers; operating the mass congregate shelter at the Sullivan Arena to the Alex, the Aviator, and the CWS shelter at 1111 E 56th. Henning has served over 2,600 Alaskans experiencing homelessness since October 1, 2023.   Due to the long-standing rapport built between our operations and the needs of the municipality, senior leadership and Alexis Johnson developed a close relationship, bringing Alexis Johnson into the Henning family. 

“Lived experience has helped me to develop a unique perspective, and I recognize my lapse in judgement in these jokes that were made in poor taste,” explained Shawn Hays, Executive Director. “However, the messages were pieced together from various conversations over the course of multiple months and do not reflect the validity of those individual conversations or the intentions of our staff. The work we do is extremely hard and emotionally taxing, and we rely on one another as outlets.”  

“Part of being self-sufficient is participating in civil government and we believe that everyone has the right to vote with or without shelter,” said Operations Director, Crystal Abbott. “Many of our clients do not have any form of government identification when they arrive at one of our operations, and without that, there’s no way to obtain other resources or participate government processes.” 

“Last spring Henning partnered with AHD volunteers to have a voter registration drive for people in shelters” said Deputy Executive Director Rob Seay. “This year we anticipated holding another voter registration drive at CWS. Unfortunately, the screenshots of the texts don’t capture the entire conversation. We never told or encouraged our clients to vote for one candidate over another. Finally, as an organization, we cannot tell our staff what they can or cannot post on their personal social media accounts. A suggestion by a staff member does not imply that Henning leadership coerced anyone to vote for a particular candidate.” 

“While the insensitive jokes are concerning, it is important to acknowledge that the Henning Leadership are human. They are providing a service that extends beyond the typical Monday through Friday, 9-5 job, and is a service that lifts people out of desperate situations. They have accepted responsibility for their actions and are actively reflecting on alternative self-care methods,” said Board President Sasha Tsurnos. “Henning is comprised of a dedicated team who are committed to the overall well-being of our community and its most vulnerable members. Furthermore, Alaska is an open carry state, staff do not carry guns in any of the shelters we operate. We have a trained and dedicated team who conduct routine inspections to ensure the safety of all clients and staff.”  

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