Arnold Abbott hopeful for resolution in homeless feeding dispute

90-year-old vows 'to keep fighting' Fort Lauderdale ordinance banning public feeding

By Ben Kennedy - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A 90-year-old man who was back in court Monday for serving food to the poor in public said he is "going to keep fighting."

Arnold Abbott has been the face of the controversial homeless feeding ordinance in Fort Lauderdale.

"I'm absolutely disappointed," Abbott told Local 10 News after Monday's hearing. "I had hoped there would be some resolution today."

The city isn't arresting anyone who violates the new ordinance, which restricts feeding the homeless outside and bans panhandling at intersections, for 45 days.

Abbott argues that a 14-year-old injunction allowed him the religious freedom to feed the poor, which he's been doing for nearly two decades.

"It's ridiculous," Abbott said. "We know that the court will overturn them."

Abbott said he believes the city is "stalling" because "they know they are in the wrong."

City officials intend to meet with Abbott to try to resolve the issue outside of court.

"We hope that this will be resolved somehow," Abbott said. "I don't know what will happen (in) mediation. I have no idea what they're going to offer."

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