Richard Gere thinks people are "afraid of being sucked into a black hole of failure and misery".
The Hollywood star posed as a homeless person for his latest on-screen role in a documentary-style film about homelessness, titled 'Time Out of Mind', and he has revealed how differently he was treated during the process of making the movie.
He recalled: "It was bizarre. As long as I was in character, I could see people from two blocks away, making a judgment based on how I was dressed. I was very visible to them.
"People are afraid of being sucked into a black hole of failure and misery. But then it touches something deep in all of us."
Gere said homelessness is a more immediate risk than many people would wish to acknowledge.
He told the Observer newspaper: "None of us are that secure that it couldn't be us also."
Gere also encouraged members of the public to be generous towards the homeless population.
Some people argue against giving money to the homeless in case they spend it on drugs and alcohol,but Gere said: "It's not to up to us to make that judgment. Give them money. Ultimately, a genuine act of generosity communicates to that person."