I know that, as with people from all walks of life, there will always be some genuine beggars and homeless people, and others who just give them a bad name. Some may have jumped on the bandwagon, as an easy way to get money. God help them, if that is the best that life offers them, by way of making a living.

It is so easy to look at people who are struggling with life, and it's hardships, and think that it will never be you. However, a sad fact of life is that beggars and homeless people can come from all walks of life and levels of intelligence.

When we are young it is so easy to be complacent and self assured. However, once we are older, I think that many of us can see how some folk end up having such hard times. A breakdown in the family circle, bereavement and a mental breakdown, are all examples of how a slippery slide into homelessness can occur.

With the lack of support nowadays, it can be all to easy for someone suffering mental health problems to loose their home and job. In no time at all, a smart and intelligent citizen can become a down and out.

Think that this is not true? Look around.

However, before we blindly judge we ought to have our facts straight. Sure, there are plety of conmen but doesn't your heart go out to the genuine people who are experiencing homelessness and poverty?

There could go any of us, given a few bad breaks and health issues. I cannot imagine, thankfully, how desperate it must feel to have no home, few possessions, little family, poor health and little hope.

When I was eighteen, getting on for 40 years ago, I took part in a local charity walk. It was a 25 mile walk and it was in aid of "Shelter", the charity which helps the homeless in the UK. I remember wearing my 'I'm a shelter helper' badge with pride. The sponsorship money, which all the walkers raised through people's generosity, was going to go towards stamping out homelessness, once and for all.

All these years down the road and, for many, things have got worse. In this day and age, in a relatively prosperous country, no-one should HAVE to sleep rough. Basic shelter must surely be everyone's right.

I know this is an idealisitc view but I do feel it should be possible.

Considering the vast sums of money being spent, of late, on death and destruction, it really is a disgrace that genuine people and children are homeless. Look at the ridiculously large bonus payments bankers are set to receive, yet again?

As for begging, there are, , unfortunately, where I live just too many how do this for the wrong reasons. I use my judgement, probably often wrongly, and do what I can to help those who need help.

All any of us can do is, go with our personal beliefs and our consciences. After all, there but for the grace of God go you or I.