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In October 2014, the City of Fort Lauderdale passed an ordinance restricting people from giving free food to the homeless. Fort Lauderdale is just one of the many cities that have been implementing anti-homeless laws. In a survey of 180 U.S. cities, a third barred public “camping.”

 

In Fort Lauderdale, a 90-year-old activist was arrested for distributing meals. A protest group, Food Not Bombs, has declared legal action and is taking the city to court. Fort Lauderdale has implemented other laws, such as giving police the right to confiscate any personal property the homeless keep on public property.

Humanitarian Arnold Abbot, who has since turned 91, was taken into custody by Fort Lauderdale police. He and his group were only guilty of giving out free food to the homeless. Food Not Bombs argues that denying their group the right to hand out food during weekly demonstrations is a violation of the right to free expression.

 

Sources:

Michelle Chen, “The City That Outlawed Free Food.” The Nation, Feb. 2, 2015,  http://www.mediachannel.org/the-city-that-outlawed-free-food/

Niki Cruz."Fort Lauderdale Man Arrested Feeding The Homeless, Debate Ensues." The Inquisitr News, Feb. 3, 2015. Accessed February 16, 2015. http://www.inquisitr.com/1811283/fort-lauderdale-man-arrested-feeding-the-homeless-debate-ensues/.

Mike Clary. "Volunteers Hit Streets to Begin Annual Count of Broward Homeless." Sun-Sentinel.com. January 27, 2015. Accessed February 19, 2015. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-broward-homeless-count-20150127-8-story.html.

Legal document of the court action: http://www.southernlegal.org/files/3214/2256/6948/Doc._1_Complaint.pdf

Homelessness Survey:

http://www.nlchp.org/documents/No_Safe_Place

Keyes, Scott. "Florida City About To Make It Illegal For Homeless People To Have Possessions In Public." ThinkProgress RSS. April 21, 2014. Accessed February 22, 2015. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/04/21/3428899/fort-lauderdale-criminalize-homelessness/.

 

Student Researcher(s): Britton Gray (University of Regina School of Journalism)

Faculty Evaluator(s): Patricia Elliot (University of Regina School of Journalism)