Keystage founder discusses concerns that cost of living will see homelessness increase

Keystage Housing founder James O'Grady discusses the cost of living crisis

Keystage Housing founder James O'Grady discusses the cost of living crisis - Credit: Keystage Housing

In the midst of the planning process for a homeless and support accommodation provision in Hitchin, the founder of Keystage Housing - which hopes to change the use of the Lord Lister Hotel - has spoken out about his mission to "eradicate homelessness".

CEO James O'Grady fears the cost of living crisis could result in an increase in individuals finding themselves facing the loss of their homes in the coming months.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that almost 90 per cent of British households reported an increase in their cost of living in April, as they are hit by escalating food, fuel, and borrowing costs.

Through his community-interest company, Keystage Housing, James supports people in getting off the streets and back on the right path, with services in Luton, Northampton and Hitchin. 

He said: “Right now, we are hitting another crisis point with inflation and we won’t see the outcome of that for another six months.

"Many of us think we will be able to muddle through and change what we spend, but it can take just three poor financial decisions and we could all face losing our homes and ending up on the streets.”

In 2011, James and his wife were developing schemes for a local authority when an opportunity arose to take over the running of a supported living service. James progressed from being the landlord to service provider, managing 21 tenancies.

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From here, he built up a portfolio and founded Keystage Housing in 2018, a supported-living service, expanding to accommodate those who had left prison and homelessness.

The company has since grown to a team of 80, who support rough sleepers with safe and supportive places to stay.

James said: “Aged 16, after a number of setbacks I felt very unworthy. I’m still on the road to finding my own potential and have had to navigate that on my own.

"But I really value the opportunity to help other people see and reach their own potential and give them a second chance in life.”

James has seen "hundreds of people benefit from the work of Keystage Housing" and explained that homelessness is something that can happen far more easily than many imagine.

For more information about Keystage housing and the work they do, visit: www.keystagehousing.co.uk