VENTURA — Although he voted against providing city funding for the homeless in September, Councilman Brian Brennan is now privately attempting to raise money to open a local cold-weather shelter.
Brennan is holding a dinner and auction fund-raiser at his new Celtic restaurant, O'Brien's, at 394 E. Main St., on Dec. 17. He's providing the staff, the space and meals for a reduced rate to Turning Point Foundation, which is sponsoring the event.
Clyde Reynolds, the foundation's executive director, said proceeds from the $25-per-person tickets will go toward several agencies that serve the homeless in Ventura. But the main objective, he said, was to make sure an emergency shelter will be open in Ventura this winter.
"We want to make sure there's enough money to open the shelter," Reynolds said. "At the same time, we're not trying to let the city off the hook. We still think they should provide funding."
On Sept. 28, the City Council voted against giving funds to nonprofit agencies that serve the homeless in Ventura. Councilwoman Donna De Paola voted in favor of the funding.
City officials say they are trying to send a message to the county, which they believe isn't doing enough to serve the local homeless.
"We are not the cold, heartless people that we have been portrayed to be," Brennan said of himself and his council colleagues. "It's unfortunate that the warming shelter got clumped into this argument."
The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and the auction of painting, sculpture, jewelry and door prizes starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person in advance and $30 at the door. The fee to attend only the auction is $10. For more information, call 643-7903.