Activist Arnold Abbott cited again for feeding Fort Lauderdale’s homeless
Fort Lauderdale’s first crackdown under the new ordinance from banning public food sharing was on Sunday when chef Arnold Abbott and two pastors Dwayne Black and Mark Sims were charged for feeding the homeless.
Although charges include facing up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, Abbott told ABC News that he’s not deterred from the violation and even went back out to serve more food at a public park on Wednesday. There the 90-year-old, who runs nonprofit group Love Thy Neighbor, was cited again.
Mayor Jack Seiler has stressed that the city was working with local charities to help the homeless through indoor feedings with programs for long-term help and medical care. He argues that feeding people on the street creates a cycle of dependency.
Abbott says religious conviction drives his street ministry. He has sued the city before in 1999 for banning him from feeding homeless people on the beach and won. Although he would rather not serve time, Abbott says he is prepared for the possibility.
Fort Lauderdale is the latest U.S. city to pass restriction on feeding the homeless in public places. The ordinance passed on Oct. 22 and limits where outdoor feeding sites can be located with required permission from property owners and portable toilets and hand-washing stations on site.
A court date for the three men has not yet been set.