A nice old man just wants to do good deeds and feed the homeless. The only problem is that as of October 31, 2014 the City of Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, Florida enacted law restricting where “outdoor feeding sites can be located” and that those distributing food must obtain the permission of property owners and provide portable toilets near the area where the distribution of food is happening, among other requirements. This man is not planning a festival, he’s feeding the homeless!
90 year old Arnold Abbott has been ministering the homeless on Fort Lauderdale beach for 23 years and intentionally has selected this area in Fort Lauderdale because it is situated near the only public restroom on the beach, specifically for that convenience. Unfortunately the City felt this is a nuisance and enacted this new city ordinance. Subsequently the citations began rolling in as Mr. Abbott continued to feed the homeless knowing full well he could face jail time or hefty fines. Mr. Abbott kindly states the City Police were very gentle and considerate in their “handling of him.” Did he say handling of him??? It should be noted the Police did appear uncomfortable during these encounters.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, in defense of the City states, that local shelters and community churches offer meals to the homeless and there is availability to feed the homeless throughout the community. This is true. I have attached a link below listing known Broward County Soup Banks and Kitchens throughout the area.
With public back lash and hyped up media attention a Broward County Judge intervenes and orders a 30-day stay on enforcing the new law that restricts the feeding of the homeless. The Judge then orders both sides, the City and Mr. Abbott, to enter into Mediation during those 30 days hoping they can come together and reach an amicable resolution toward resolving this issue.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out….