FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Fort Lauderdale’s homeless people are struggling to find a meal. The city passed a new ordinance restricting public feeding in some public parks and areas.
Robert Otto, a homeless Fort Lauderdale man, said he can’t go on like this anymore.
“I’m leaving man. I ain’t taking this no more man,” he told CBS4’s Ted Scouten. “They treat you like you was a dog or something, stray dog. “
Otto said he got himself a ticket to Los Angeles to escape this new rule.
One homeless man interviewed by Scouten said he has gone days without food.
Gil, who didn’t give a last name, said his last meal was a bag of lollipops from Halloween he was given.
Every Sunday, Gil would get a hot dinner from 90-year-old Arnold Abbot, affectionately known as “Chef Arnold.”
Abbott brings hot food to the homeless at Stranahan Park in Downtown Fort Lauderdale and every Wednesday he sets up on the beach.
He is fighting the ordinance head on. Through his charity “Love Thy Neighbor,” Abbott keeps feeding people like Otto and Gil.
“My mission is to do God’s work, to feed people who are hungry,” he said.
Abbott said he’s been cited twice now for setting up a mobile kitchen against the new law.
“I’ll fight it, fight it. As long as there’s a breath in my body, I will fight it.”
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler said the law is to keep feeding sanitary. It weighs the needs of people who live and work in the area against the needs of the homeless who are hungry.
“This is not a community who’s turned its back on the homeless or passed a homeless hate law,” he said. “You can feed in local churches, you can feed in local halls, there are places to feed, facilities available.”
Homeless advocate Ron Book agrees with the city; feeding people on the street is not a good idea.
“We believe if you feed people on the streets, they’re going to stay on the streets. You’re empowering them stay on the streets,” Book said.
The Salvation Army is hoping local charities will come up with a comprehensive plan to help the hungry together.
“Homeless people don’t have money to transport themselves. They don’t have money to come from the beach all the way to the Salvation Army or any other place where they would provide feeding,” said Lilly Gallardo who works with the Salvation Army.
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