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London homeless charity Thames Reach's chief executive Jeremy Swain has told The Pavement that his appearance in front of the Homeless People's Commission (HPC) was 'challenging' but positive overall. The HPC is a year-long project set up by homeless charity Groundswell to allow rough sleepers and service users to have an influence over policies that affect their lives. In one of a series of events due to take place this summer, 18 members - all people who have had experience of homelessness - discussed temporary housing policy with the Thames Reach head. "I had a really good session with the commission," Mr Swain told us. "I did a presentation on hostels and the private rented sector."
"My overall view is that hostels could be far more successful than they are as a route out of homelessness for homeless people, so my presentation was quite critical of hostels."
Mr Swain said the presentation and discussion format allowed for some good ideas to be shared between service users and those who manage homeless policy.
"The commission then broke into small groups, prepared questions and returned to fire some challenging questions at me," he said. "The level of debate was high and these were clearly people who knew their stuff. We chose to differ on some issues."
The HPC is set to continue at a range of different homeless-related events over the summer, at venues up and down the country. At the end of the program, Groundswell is set to produce a report of homeless policy recommendations, based in meetings with homeless people, to the government's Department of Communities and Local Government.