Founded in 2013, The Waterfront Project, Inc. (WFP) is a legal center that provides
free civil legal representation, assistance and advocacy to New Jersey residents
who are asset-limited, income-constrained, homeless, or disenfranchised.
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 Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Parish 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, 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 to low and moderate-income tenants as a participating agency of the HUD-certified housing counseling program.
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.
Program Manager, Bloomberg LP
Executive, Mosaic Strategies Group
General Counsel, Purpose
Director, Government Relations, Catholic Health Association of the United States
Executive Director, NY Governor's Office of Storm Recovery
Erin K. Law
Associate General Counsel, Office of Chief Financial Officer, District of Columbia
Senior Vice President, Spencer Savings Bank
Member, Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi
Partner & Co-Chair, Government & Regulatory Affairs, Gibbons P.C.