Thursday, January 14, 2010

CM James, Pop Star Crystal Waters Urge City to Keep Homeless Shelter At Proposed AY Site

**For Immediate Release**
January 13, 2010

Contacts: Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191, and Steve de Sève at (917) 330-6147

Pop Star Crystal Waters comes to Brooklyn this Saturday to help City Council Member Letitia James convince the City to keep a homeless family-shelter, scheduled to be closed by the City on Martin Luther King's Birthday (Jan. 15), open until Spring

The shelter is slated to be demolished for a parking lot for Barclays Bank's Barclays Center sports stadium construction vehicle parking. Crystal Waters’ hit, She's Homeless, will be performed in protest of the shelter closing and this massive development project

(Brooklyn, NY) - Crystal Waters, whose 1990s hit song “Gypsy Woman” is about a homeless woman that sings for her supper (“la da dee laa da da”), is coming to the Barclays Center/Atlantic Yards project site this Saturday to help homeless families in Brooklyn by fighting to keep a crucial family-shelter open, which is located in the footprint of the proposed Barclays Center/Atlantic Yards project.

“I don't know which is colder, Brooklyn in January through March, or what the Barclays Center/Atlantic Yards project and the City and State of New York are doing to the homeless families on January 15. Keep this shelter open till it's warm out,” said Council Member James.

The shelter has beds for 88 families, ranging from couples to families with small children. It is scheduled to be shut down by the City of New York, and condemned by eminent domain at the request of Barclays Bank's Barclays Center (a basketball arena), and its developer Bruce Ratner on January 15. Since Barclays is in England, and has no branches in New York, Crystal Waters (who resides in England) is asking Barclays Bank to have a heart and request that the City keep this shelter open, at least until the spring - so that families who become homeless in New York’s cold winter will have access to an indoor place to sleep. During these hard economic times, let’s consider all homeless individuals, especially the many families and children who are struggling.

The City claims that families currently residing at the Pacific Avenue and Dean Street homeless shelter will be relocated. Even if the claim is to be believed, this is not the point. New York’s shelter system will still lose beds and facilities for homeless children and their parents who will need shelter from the cold, specifically during the harsh New York winter. The Barclays Center, (whose owners have decided a parking lot for its construction vehicles is more important than Brooklyn’s homeless families) is slated to be used as an arena for the New Jersey Nets, (some think the Nets is the worst team in the NBA; the team was purchased in 2009 by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov). And, even the City’s Independent Budget Office has found that this publicly subsidized arena would be a net financial loser for New York City if built.

“Owners of the Barclays Center/Atlantic Yards project are forcing the City to close this critical family-shelter, and allowing the state to take it by eminent domain in the dead of winter, and on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend. This is absolutely wrong and unnecessary. The community believes that nothing at all will be built in place of this homeless shelter - possibly for years and decades…if ever. Taking away beds for our City’s most vulnerable residents is simply unconscionable,” said Council Member James.

Ms. Waters will perform her song, Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless), with local homeless people to raise awareness of what owners of the Barclays Center are doing, and to encourage Barclays Bank to ask the City and State to keep the shelter open until Spring, when the weather warms up. The press conference and performance will be at Freddy's Bar, which is itself fighting eviction because of the Barclays Center/Atlantic Yards project.

What: Pop Star Crystal Waters in Brooklyn to support City Council Member Letitia James and homeless families. Her hit, She's Homeless, will be performed 2pm.

Who: Singer Crystal Waters, Council Member Letitia James, public officials, residents, and homeless advocates

Where: Freddy's Bar, 485 Dean Street in Prospect Heights - Corner of 6th Avenue - (718) 622-7035 - (2or 3 to Bergen St. Station)

When: Saturday, January 16, at 2pm

Crystal Waters Gypsy Woman (she's homeless)

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