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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NCH And The Congressional Hunger Center Will Present Arnold Abbot With "Advocate Of The Year" Award

The National Coalition for the Homeless and The National National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty recognise 91 Year Old WWII Veteran Arnold Abbot for his humanity, dedication to the poor and disadvantaged of Ft. Lauderdale    

NATIONAL COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS
12/16/2014


WASHINGTON, D.C. -

The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) is partnering with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (Law Center) to provide members of the media, congressional staff, and activists an opportunity to meet Arnold Abbott and shed light on the national issue of criminalization of people who are homeless and those who are helping them. 


WWI Veteran Arnold Abbot
Arnold Abbott, the internationally renowned activist for homeless people, will be the event’s main speaker. 

NCH and the Congressional Hunger Center will present him with the ‘Advocate of the Year’ Award. 

Mr. Abbott has received significant media attention in the past two months for openly refusing to abide Fort Lauderdale’s new law that criminalizes the act of sharing food with homeless and needy persons. 




Arnold Abbott is a 91-year-old World War II veteran, who founded a non-profit called Love Thy Neighbor in 1991, which ensures that homeless individuals receive hot meals in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Since the passage of this ordinance in November, Mr. Abbott has received three court summons and faces at least $1,500 in fines and up to 180 days in jail. He maintains that he has the constitutional right to continue feeding his neighbours and will continue to do so despite any personal consequences. A judge recently suspended the law by imposing a 30 day ban on any new arrests/citations for this “crime”. Mr. Abbott co-authored a petition calling for the repeal of this ordinance that has received over 100,000 signatures. 

“We can’t understand why the City of Fort Lauderdale would try to prevent volunteer groups from acting charitably,” said Jerry Jones, Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. A report released by the organization in October, Share No More, cited 21 other cities that have passed similar legislation in the past two years. This method of attempting to push the homeless population out of sight has been attempted in over 70 American cities. 


Abbot being taken into custody by Ft. Laudedale police

Maria Foscarinis, Executive Director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, explained, “At a time when more Americans are suffering from hunger and falling into homelessness, making it a crime for charitable groups to share food with their neighbors in need is terrible policy. 

Unfortunately, they are part of a larger national trend: Many cities are choosing to criminalize the necessary conduct of homeless people—such as sleeping, sitting and eating in public-- despite a lack of available resources such as food, housing and even shelter. Such laws threaten the human and constitutional rights of homeless people, impose unnecessary costs on cities, and do nothing to solve the problems they purport to address.” 

In July, the Law Center released No Safe Place, a report which documents this escalation of criminalization through a survey of 187 cities. Last year, the Law Center won a federal court challenge to a Dallas, TX ordinance that restricted food-sharing; last week, following a favourable settlement agreement, the Dallas City Council voted to alter the city’s law to loosen
its restrictions.

On December 18, 2014, Arnold Abbott will be available for comment at the 4:30 pm in the Congressional Meeting Room South of the Capitol Visitor Center. He provides a unique perspective on the importance of food-sharing programs and best practices for assisting people who are experiencing
homelessness. Also speaking at the event will be LaTasha Lee from U.S. Representative Hastings’ Office as well as Jeremy Rosen of the Law Center and Michael Stoops of NCH to discuss the national perspective, including the recent settlement of a similar food sharing case in Dallas.


For more information, please call Michael Stoops at (202) 462-4822 x 234
mstoops@nationalhomeless.org or Sarah Knutson at (202) 638-2535 x105
sknutson@nlchp.org. Thank you for your time and attention.

The National Coalition for the Homeless (www.nationalhomeless.org) is a national network of people who have experienced homelessness, activists, advocates, community and faith-based service providers, and others committed to a single mission of working to prevent and end homelessness while ensuring that the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights are protected.

The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (www.nlchp.org ) is the only national organization dedicated solely to using the power of the law to end and prevent homelessness. With the support of a large network of pro bono lawyers, we address the immediate and long-term needs of people who are homeless or at risk through outreach and training, advocacy, impact litigation, and public education. 

National Coalition for the Homeless
2201 P St., NW
Washington, DC 20037-1033
Ph. (202) 462-4822 x221

Combined Federal Campaign: 10844




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