Monument Impact ‘resilient’ as staff dispersed following Keller House fire

Monument Impact ‘resilient’ as staff dispersed following Keller House fire

Monument Impact ‘resilient’ as staff dispersed following Keller House fire
Monument Impact had to vacate Concord’s Keller House after a Feb. 4 fire.

CONCORD, CA (Feb. 20, 2024) — After a windswept fire damaged the back office of Keller House, Monument Impact has temporarily shifted its personnel to other offices in Concord and Antioch.

As storms raged late in the evening on Feb. 4, high winds spread a fire that a homeless person set to keep warm beneath the porch of the Clayton Road building. Officials determined the space was unsafe to occupy.

The city of Concord, which owns Keller House, is working with its insurance provider to organize repairs. Officials anticipate erecting fencing around the 1760 Clayton Road site in the interim to discourage vandalism.

At press time, Monument Impact hadn’t formalized a new home for the Keller House operations. Executive director Judith Ortiz estimated being in a temporary space for six months to a year.

“Me and my team are resilient and made proactive moves to continue serving the community without disruptions,” Ortiz said. “The reality is that through this tragedy we continue to experience unhoused individuals who need support, and this is what Monument Impact advocates for, every day.”

Temporary measures

Fifteen staff members worked daily from Keller House. Since the fire, some staff moved to Monument Impact’s other Concord location at 2699 Monument Blvd., Suite G., for walk-ins as well as to the Antioch building.

“This will only work temporarily as these sites are either already occupied by staff, community members and our in-person classes, or are inaccessible to community members and staff members who do not live in the area,” Ortiz said.
Along with walk-in support at the offices, direct help is available by calling 925-682-8248.

“Access will no longer be as easy, especially for those who don’t have access to a computer and are only able to visit the Keller House,” noted Amie Lam, the organization’s strategic communications manager.

As the nonprofit moves forward to reopen Keller House, Monument Impact has launched a fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $6,000 by the end of the month to offset unexpected office rental costs.

Keller House

According to the Concord Historical Society, L.V. Perry built Keller House in 1902-’03 for Henry (Harry) and Elodia Keller. The house was initially located at the southeast corner of Galindo Street and Clayton Road.

Paul and Marie Keller acquired the house in 1912 when his brother Harry purchased a large ranch in Clayton. In the late 1970s, the house was converted to a real estate office and restored.

Keller House was moved to its current Ellis Lake Park location in 1984 and has been used for community service activities. This includes support for victims of domestic violence.

Monument Impact has called Keller House home since 2012, when the Monument Community Partnership and the Michael Chavez Center merged as Monument Impact to better serve the Monument community.

The group’s annual fundraising gala set for Sept. 19 also will take on greater importance as a result of the new financial burdens.

“This incident itself speaks to the need to end homelessness and tenant rises,” Ortiz said. “Our services will continue to serve community members who are among those most at risk and need of ­support.”

David Scholz
David Scholz

David Scholz is back in journalism as a freelance writer and photographer after nearly two decades in education. Prior to moving into teaching in 2000, he worked as a full-time journalist since 1988 for rural community and small daily newspapers in Central Ohio and Northern Nevada, and later in California with The Business Journal in Fresno and dailies in the Bay Area, including The Oakland Tribune and The San Francisco Chronicle. More recently Scholz also worked in an editing, writing, and page layout role with the Rossmoor News.