Fort Lauderdale and its Homeless

Letter to the Editor and Michael Mayo


It’s easy to criticize Fort Lauderdale’s new law that controls the feeding of its homeless in its City.

After all, citing, and maybe even eventually jailing a feisty 90 year old man, a longtime advocate of the weak and downtrodden, for just providing three squares a day seems untenable, almost mean.



But it’s not, let me explain.

Most of the homeless folks that Arnold Abbott feeds are not the homeless that are temporarily without a roof due to a sudden hardship, loss of a job, or serious illness that left them penniless and living on the streets.

No, we, as a community in Broward County, have spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours of personal efforts to provide for those unfortunate, fellow human beings. We built, maintain, and fund programs like the the Homeless Assistance Center (HAC), and other County and City programs that provide temporary housing, job placement and training for those.

The new Fort Lauderdale law, addresses another group of human beings that find themselves homeless and in trouble in our fair City. They are the mentally ill, the chronic drug or alcohol abusers, or the smaller group of adults that simply choose to abandon responsibility and live off the fat of the land.

Arnold Abbott, and maybe you, feel that feeding folks a meal – even to this group of the most needy must be a good thing to do, but in reality IT is the mean thing, or at the very least, the  irresponsible thing to do.

If we just feed these unfortunate folks with serious problems, and then send them off to find a bush or bench to sleep, we might go back to our safe home and  feel better, but those sad afflicted fellow human being are really no better off for the temporary help.

So let’s support the new laws, and really help. Let’s now find a way to fund programs that deal with our weaker fellow humans problems with drugs, alcohol, and mental instabilities. Let’s find a way to house them, treat them, monitor and mentor them. Let’s decide as a City that living on the streets is not good enough for Fort Lauderdale, let’s start a trend!

Then Arnold Abbotts’ life mission might have a true chance of making a real difference.


13 Replies to “Fort Lauderdale and its Homeless”

  1. PLEASE read Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler’s response to the comments of so many well-intentioned people who are so woefully misinformed of the facts on the homeless feeding ordinance just enacted in Fort Lauderdale. As so many who live and work downtown know, this is a MUCH-NEEDED measure that IS NOT a heartless act as portrayed by so many who have no clue! Here are the opening comments from the Mayor…:
    Dear Neighbors,
    I appreciate the opportunity to clarify much of the misinformation that has been prevalent in the media recently regarding the homeless.
    Contrary to reports, the City of Fort Lauderdale is not banning groups from feeding the homeless. We have established an outdoor food distribution ordinance to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our community. The ordinance does not prohibit feeding the homeless; it regulates the activity in order to ensure it is carried out in an appropriate, organized, clean and healthy manner. READ THE REST HERE:…/2014/110514mayors_update.htm

  2. These people that are criticizing probably haven’t seen what I have seen. I’m driving down the beach in front of the Sheraton Yankee clipper and I look over a homeless man pulls down his pants and defecates right out in the open. I lookover towards the valet area at the hotel and everybody is just astonished as I am because they saw it too. This is there memory for holiday in Fort Lauderdale. Lesson learned. Don’t feed them and we don’t have to put up with her shit.

  3. The City if Fort Lauderdale is not telling us strait they say the New Feeding
    Ordinance does not restrict or stop anyone from feeding the Homeless on the face of the ordinance that Is correct but why do it know the answer is that they are hoping to discourage feeding making it to expensive and or difficult for the givers so the feeding stop and are hoping the homeless
    Will leave (What a Plan)(really doing a public good for all)(Will not work) . instead of trying to do
    The right approach and get the county that should be handling the homeless issue under the county charter to do something no they arrest people trying to help like a 90 Year old man
    and the Public perception has been overwhelmingly negative with this new feeding ordinance did not they see this coming I hoping they place moratorium on the new Feeding ordinance until all parties can try again and see if something could be worked out with the feeding location and get the Broward County to come to the table and do something we pay more in taxes to the county as Fort Lauderdale residents then what services we get back they need to step up and help in a big way.

  4. For right or wrong, Grimm is right, Seiler has been outsmarted and left the world looking at us with outrage. We are now stuck with this new world view of our City no matter where we feed the homeless…..our Mayor allowed this to happen.

    Here’s an excerpt from Fred Grimm’s story in the Miami Herald:
    “Basically, the city’s trying to push Abbott out of the parks to some nice church parking lot, where he can carry on with his good works. Abbott, however, said he and his crew will be heading back out to South Beach Park and yet another confrontation with city officials.

    The town fathers have sure as hell muffed their side of the story. With outdoor feeding regulations not much different than Miami’s and scores of others cities, they’ve allowed themselves to be painted as cruel outliers, bent on tossing a 90-year-old good Samaritan in jail for doing God’s bidding. All the nuance, the stuff about connecting feeding programs to social services and longtime solutions to homelessness, or the notion that a tourist-dependent community should be allowed to control activities in its parks and beaches — all that has been drowned out by a world-wide howl of outrage.

    It’s as if Mayor Jack Seiler, who might have put this imbroglio into some historic context as the latest chapter in two decades of legal wrangling, has been utterly outmaneuvered by an old provocateur. He has allowed this conflict to be framed as godless government fascists out to put a 90-something saint in prison.”

    Read more here:

  5. So the mentally ill people who are homeless are in the “bad” category of homelessness? Seems off to me.

  6. Everyone complaining that the new regulations are inhumane should step up and ‘adopt’ a homeless person. Bring him or her home and feed them, clothe them, get them medical/mental services, etc. I’m sure they would appreciate that and the adopter can alleviate their feelings of guilt. We’ve lived among these folks too long and allowing them to live eternally off the city doesn’t solve the problem. Remember when they offered to ‘work for food’? When’s the last time you read that on a panhandler’s sign? Feeding them in public and giving them money for crack and beer adds to the problem. At least buy them a publix gift card or something so they can’t buy anything illegal with the proceeds form other’s charitable efforts.

    1. That is what I have been asking these KEYBOARD WARRIORS to do. All talk and typing, and ABSOLUTELY NO ACTION from these hypocrites!

  7. Former commissioner is right, n coming from some known for his compassion it. Probably hurts his heart to say these truths. Substance abuse rehab is 33 000 dollars a month, what family or person can finance that, that is also a sad fact.

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