It is a sign of the times that when we walk through our towns we see people huddled in sleeping bags in shop doorways or sitting with placards and asking for money.
Sadly I know that people can end up in that situation through no fault of their own as well as by making some unfortunate decisions.
When I was a student I had a spell helping in a homeless hostel and it was a real eye opener.
All it takes is for one bad choice, or a set of circumstances that conspire against you to end up in a dire situation.
It can happen to any of us and that is an important fact to remember as we walk by the outstretched hand.
We can do so from a number of standpoints.
It may be that we are genuinely so full of self that we simply do not see them.
That takes a particularly hard heart to do that.
There are then those who see them and deliberately close their hearts to them writing them off as spongers and scroungers who have ended up like that through their own inadequacy.
That is also a cruel judgement which they would understand when something bad happens to them and are forced to reach out to others for help!
It is also possible to react by passing on a few coins.
It shows a willingness and is often gratefully received.
But one can never be sure if you are feeding a drink or a drug habit and so some go and buy them a coffee or a sandwich.
Not everyone has time to do that though and so more often people will walk by with a conscience that they have failed to help when they might have.
It seems strange in a society with a welfare state that people still find themselves in that position.
It is clear that the system is inadequate either in allowing people to slip through the net and be ineligible for help or else in not having enough resources to be able to meet all needs.
There will always be a small minority who for whatever reason will absent themselves from any help that is offered but the majority want to be helped.
There are many charities which exist to help the homeless and needy of our society.
It may be that it is by supporting these charities and organisations that we can do most to help them; the Kingdom Trust of Eastbourne for example, or Sussex Nightstop, or Homelink Lewes and many more all help to provide resources to help the homeless.
Let’s get serious and give some serious help to those who most need it!