Fort Lauderdale

Homeless Advocate Willing to Compromise With Mayor

Homeless advocate Arnold Abbott held another feeding for the homeless, but says he is willing to compromise with Fort Lauderdale's mayor on the location of his weekly Sunday meal distribution.

"I'm not married to the park," said Abbott. "I'm happy to go indoors wherever he could designate since he says he knows of many, many places."

The 90-year-old founder of "Love Thy Neighbor, Inc." has recently received two citations for violating Fort Lauderdale's new ordinance that places strict rules on feeding the homeless outdoors.

In a letter posted to the city's website, Mayor Jack Seiler said, "While the ordinance regulates outdoor food distribution, it permits indoor food distribution to take place at houses of worship throughout the city."

"We don't have transportation, we don't have money," said Joseph Jones, who is homeless. "A lot of these people don't have bus fare."

Since Abbott and his group opted to feed the homeless at a local church instead of his usual spot at Stranahan Park due to rain, there were no police officers in sight. Abbott says he doesn't know what to expect at his next outdoor feeding Wednesday, but will be there with food trays in hand.

"There isn't a rug big enough to sweep them all under," said Abbott. "That's obviously what they're trying to do.

Many in the community have rallied around Abbott, including Jillian Pip, who has been on a hunger strike for eight days to protest the ordinance.

"It's coupled with other laws that has basically made it illegal to be homeless," Pip said.

While Abbott is willing to move his Sunday feeding indoors, he says he will not budge on his weekly Wednesday meal hand-outs on Fort Lauderdale beach.

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