Limits on feeding homeless are suspended for now in Fort Lauderdale

Arnold Abbott, a 90-year-old chef, is surrounded by media as he prepares to feed the homeless in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on November 12, 2014 (AFP Photo/Joe Raedle)

Miami (AFP) - A judge suspended a local bylaw that limited how people could feed the homeless in the US city of Fort 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.

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 on Tuesday suspended the measure for 30 days and asked the city and Abbot 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.