"Who are we to make judgements when we don't even know the stories behind the people that we see on the street?"
That's the question being asked by the Salvation Army's national manager Lieutenant Colonel Lynette Hutson in the wake of Sir Bob Jones labelling beggars "a bloody disgrace".
Ms Hutson told RadioLIVE the issues of begging and homelessness are much more complex than "making one-line comments that scoop everybody in and aren't very accurate".
She said there was always a story behind why people were on the street, and often it was due to unforeseen cirumstances.
Mental health was also a big factor, she said: "I think we should not be judging in any way."
Ms Hutson stressed that living on the streets can become a trap.
"If people don't think they can make a change, the can fall into the pattern of homelessness and become accustomed to living on the streets."
She said people should be encouraged to give money to services that help get beggars off the street, rather than making begging illegal.