Limits on feeding homeless people suspended for now in US city

90-year-old activist Arnold Abbott (left) serves food in Fort Lauderdale on Nov 12, 2014. A judge on Tuesday suspended a local bylaw that limited how people could feed the homeless in the US city. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 
90-year-old activist Arnold Abbott (left) serves food in Fort Lauderdale on Nov 12, 2014. A judge on Tuesday suspended a local bylaw that limited how people could feed the homeless in the US city. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

MIAMI (AFP) - A judge on Tuesday suspended a local bylaw that limited how people could feed the homeless in the United States city of Ford Lauderdale, Florida, local media reported.

It was a partial victory for a 90-year-old activist Arnold Abbott, who had been arrested for feeding the homeless. Mr Abbott was detained on two separate occasions last month along with two pastors from local churches in Fort Lauderdale for handing out food.

The activists were arrested after violating a city ordinance that restricted distribution of food to the homeless in public places, for example to one location on any single block.

Broward county judge Thomas Lynch suspended the measure for 30 days and asked the city and Mr Abbott to negotiate an agreement, the local CBS affiliate reported.

Homeless rights activists say the case highlights an increasing trend by local governments across the United States to crack down on food distribution networks for the needy.

Some 39 US cities currently place restrictions on distribution of food to the homeless, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless.