Stephen Jones, who was sleeping near the venue where the Ariana Grande concert was taking place, said: “Just because I’m homeless doesn’t mean I haven’t got a heart and I’m not human still.
“They needed the help. I’d like to think someone would come and help me if I needed the help.”
The 35-year-old spoke to ITV News about coming to the aid of victims of the bomb blast which killed 22 and injured 59 more. Crying and screaming Manchester has struggled to get to grips with homelessness, with more than 3,200 people on the streets in the Greater Manchester area according to the housing charity Shelter.
The city itself is a homelessness ‘hotspot’ in the north-east, with new mayor Andy Burnham kicking off a drive to find solutions by donating 15 per cent of his salary to a new initiative.
Jones, who has been sleeping rough for more than a year, said it was a natural reaction to come to the aid of those in the arena.
“It’s just instinct to go and help if someone needed your help, and it was children, you know what I mean?” he said. “It was a lot of children with blood all over them, and crying and screaming.”
“We were having to pull nails out of their arms, and a couple out of this little girl’s face.”
The former bricklayer told a harrowing story of elevating the legs of a woman who had been cut in the blast, attempting to provide first aid before ambulance crews arrived. He added: “If I didn’t help, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for walking away and leaving kids like that.”
Rough sleepers His first-person testimony comes after another rough sleeper, Chris Parker, made headlines after rushing into the venue. Parker is the subject of a crowdfunding campaign by wellwishers who want to help him as he helped the young concert-goers. It has raised over £500 so far.