In 2007 PPR began working with residents in the Seven Towers high rise complex in North Belfast. Decades of neglect and poor maintenance have left the Seven Towers severely run down. That families continue to be housed in poor conditions in high rise housing points to the real issue – that years after the end of the conflict, housing inequality impacting Catholics in North Belfast continues to exist.

The group have achieved significant improvements in the flats complex including; the removal of pigeon waste from communal landings, the replacement of the sewage system which frequently overflowed through baths and sinks, changes in multimillon pound plans which ignored residents needs and the re-housing of the majority of families into more suitable accommodation. In 2012 they launched the ‘Equality Can’t Wait’ campaign, involving residents from across North Belfast impacted by the issue. The group are calling for a time-bound, resourced strategy to finally tackle housing inequality in North Belfast.

 “The first row, the first shout, has to come from you. Because if you don’t say you matter, no one else will”  Inez McCormack, 1943-2013 Feminist, trade unionist, human rights activist and founder of Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR)

‘For I was hungry, and you did not feed me...whatever you did not do for those of the least among you,  you did not do for me’

On Thursday 3rd November President Santos of Columbia and his wife Maria Clemencia Rodriquez de Santos will travel to Belfast as part of a state visit to the UK. Activists, academics and political representatives from Northern Ireland have contributed their support and expertise to the cause of ending the 50 year conflict that resulted in over 260,000 deaths and tens of thousands of abductions or disappearances. President Santos stated in The Times Newspaper: “For two centuries, Colombia and the UK have shared common values and related experiences, but none is more pertinent to the current efforts being undertaken in Colombia, than the Northern Ireland peace process” As part of his visit, President Santos will discuss the challenges of post-conflict reconciliation and visit Titanic Belfast, and the Girdwood Community Hub – both publicly lauded as symbols of the new forward looking Northern Ireland.

A report published today by human rights organisation, Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR), authored by economist Paul Gosling, outlines that while an increase in social housing provision could be funded through a policy of promoting mixed tenure (social and affordable) developments, the main barrier to addressing the housing crisis is the lack of political action to make land available.

Families say plans to exclude social housing at Dunnes/Hillview are “unacceptable” and elected representatives say addressing homelessness should be a priority for Dunnes/Hillview site

A damning report into homelessness and destitution amongst asylum seekers in Northern Ireland, entitled ‘A Place of Refuge: A monitor of homelessness among destitute asylum seekers - A proposal for action’, was released today (11th May 2016). The research, which involved interviews with 36 destitute asylum seekers, was carried out by the newly formed Housing4All campaign group supported by PPR.

This week the families of the Equality Can’t Wait campaign are going door to door in Ardoyne calling for action to ensure social housing on the Dunnes/Hillview site on the Crumlin road. On the first night over three hundred Ardoyne residents signed the petition calling for MLAs and Councillors to intervene to ensure social housing.


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