A Prospect Heights homeless shelter that housed about 80 families was itself made homeless over the weekend, to make room for the controversial Barclay's Center/Atlantic Yards project. Thirty-five families have been moved from the Pacific Dean Annex shelter to permanent housing, and 45 to other shelters, over the protest of local politicians and pop singer Crystal Waters, whose 1990s hit song “Gypsy Woman” is about a homeless woman that sings for her supper. Waters joined Council Member Letitia James and other community activists Saturday night at a protest rally at Freddy's Bar, which is also slated for demolition. In a statement, James blasted the Atlantic Yards project:

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. 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.

Though the shelter's occupants are being relocated, critics of the closure say the city's overburdened shelter system can't afford to lose beds and facilities. Tonight the shelter's supporters will hold a vigil, starting at 10 p.m., outside the shelter at 603 Dean Street. They're calling on the Governor and the developers to re-open the shelter and at least allow it to operate until winter ends.