Board of Directors
Elizabeth L. Carter, Esq., President
Elizabeth is the Principal Attorney for The Law Office of Elizabeth L. Carter, a community development law firm representing investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonprofits, artists, and other creatives in business, real estate, and entertainment-related transactions. Prior, Elizabeth was the Assistant Legislative Director & Special Counsel for the City of Newark's Department of Economic and Housing Development where she assisted in policy development and strategy; and reviewed, drafted and facilitated redevelopment contracts, leases, grant agreements and corresponding legislation in the areas of municipal land use, redevelopment, and planning and zoning. Most notably, she was instrumental in the drafting and passage of the city's amended tax abatement ordinance (Oct., 2017), a progressive policy designed to assist sustainable development, including cooperative enterprise development, through tax benefits; and the creation and management of the city-sponsored artist housing cooperative. Lastly, Elizabeth is a Legal Fellow of the Sustainable Economies Law Center's Fellowship Program where she receives support for her role as Founding Executive Director of UCELC.
Pooja Patel, Esq., Secretary
Pooja Patel is a Staff Attorney at CAMBA Legal Services in Brooklyn, where she represents tenants in eviction proceedings and other housing matters. She was born and raised in New Jersey and an alumnus of Rutgers Law School in Newark. During law school, Pooja enrolled in the Constitutional Rights Clinic and the Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic while interning in the areas of housing, civil, rights, and criminal defense. Outside of her role at UCELC, Pooja serves as Co-Vice President of the National Lawyers Guild-NYC Chapter, and she is a Core Member of Equality4Flatbush. Pooja's political education around building participatory, horizontal, and sustainable structures began while studying and living at Marlboro College in Vermont and continued while participating in the People's Property Campaign of Empower DC, Left Forum, and Occupy Wall Street. She believes that cooperatives and alternative economies are possibilities for collective liberation, and she is proud that UCELC centers communities excluded from the traditional economy.
Victor Monterrosa, Jr., Esq., Treasurer
Victor Monterrosa, Jr. is a Staff Attorney at the Covenant House of New Jersey where he represents homeless urban youth in municipal criminal and civil issues. Victor also serves as a member of the recently formed Newark Civilian Complaint Review Board, which has the authority to investigate police misconduct and issue subpoenas. In addition, Victor assists the Greater Newark HUD Tenant Coalition in various affordable housing issues. He received a B.A. from Vassar College in 2007 where he was a Fellow within the Community Fellows Program and his J.D. from Rutgers School of Law in 2014. Prior to law school, he ran the Emergency Shelter Program at the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. While in law school, Victor interned at Essex-Newark Legal Services' Housing Unit as a NYU Charles H. Revson LSPIN Public Interest Fellow, at the ACLU-NJ as a Marsha Wenk Public Interest Legal Fellow, as a Fellow at the Center for Law and Metropolitan Equity (CLiME), and as a Student Attorney in Rutgers School of Law's Civil Justice Clinic, representing indigent clients and client groups in various legal matters, including in the areas of housing, bankruptcy, and consumer law. Victor was born in Brooklyn, NY, raised in Newark, NJ, and is a long-time housing and homeless advocate.