The Waterfront Project (WFP) is a 501(c)(3) private, nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting Hudson County’s economically disadvantaged individuals and families – the working poor, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities – by providing information, advice, and pro bono legal representation, working to ensure fair and equal access to the New Jersey civil justice system.
WFP has its roots in the waterfront city of Hoboken in Hudson County, New Jersey where Monsignor Robert Meyer (affectionately known as “Father Bob”), pastor at The Catholic Community of Saints Peter and Paul saw the development of high-rises, brownstones, and condos in stark contrast with a growing homeless population. Father Bob is educated in theology (degrees from the Pontifical Gregorian University and Lateran University in Rome) and in canon law (degree from The Catholic University in Washington DC) but it was through his civil law degree from Seton Hall University that he answered a new call of the Holy Spirit.
Father Bob remembers that at the time Pope Francis had given a homily saying, “The Holy Spirit is annoying and urges us to move ahead making us walk, pushing us to get out of our comfort zone and encouraging us to move forward.” When parishioners learned that Father Bob was an attorney, some asked him for legal advice. He says, “I began to wonder how many people don’t have the wherewithal to come forward and ask. And I thought, maybe we should be more proactive about this.” So began the process of opening a legal center right in the church basement with funds generously given by the parish finance committee.
Father Bob reached out to parishioners who were also attorneys to serve on the WFP Board. WFP was incorporated in 2013 and for the first three years operated out of the church basement with their first part-time Executive Director, Elizabeth Caraballo, Esq., screening all the clients and doing her best to find pro bono legal counsel for them. WFP expanded to a satellite office in Weehawken and, in 2016, WFP signed a lease for offices in Jersey City generously provided by Hudson County. At the same time, WFP broadened the scope of the services offered to include housing counseling, assisting the County’s low and moderate-income tenants as a HUD-certified housing counseling center.
From a seed planted and tended by one caring man with a desire to help those in his community in need, the work of WFP continues to grow. Explore our programs – Pro Bono Legal Services, Housing Counseling and Estate Planning for Seniors.