Dr. Joe Clifford, senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church downtown

"Living Out in the Open" in Downtown

When, 12 days ago, I first mentioned that the First Presbyterian Church downtown was allowing up to 150 homeless folks to sleep in the church's parking lot every night, some of our Friends weren't terribly fond of the idea. But one person thinks it's a brilliant idea. He also thinks Joe Clifford, the senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church on Park Avenue, is a godsend. And that person is Larry James, president and CEO for Central Dallas Ministries. No surprise there, sure.

But today on his blog, James writes that Clifford "wants us to consider alternatives like adequate funding for mental health services, substance abuse treatment, counseling and permanent supportive housing development. You know, approaches that actually work!" Far as James is concerned, "Joe's a unique guy in these parts." For those so interested, you can hear Clifford's October 14 sermon, during which he addresses "Living Out in the Open."

Speaking of CDM, James sends word this morning that there's a big ol' pumpkin festival taking place Saturday in the West Village, from noon till 8 p.m. The event's actually free, with bands, food and all kinds of kid-friendly shenanigans, but any money made will go toward the Central Dallas Ministries. --Robert Wilonsky

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