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.

Equality Can't Wait: Homeless families 'flash mob' Hillsborough Castle and call on Secretary of State to implement United Nations’ recommendations following ongoing failure by Stormont to tackle the housing crisis

In a recent TEDx talk entitled "Equality - the Road Less Travelled", former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Professor Paul Hunt cited the example of the Seven Towers Residents' Group's work on claiming equality rights.

"Equality - the Road Less Travelled" featured in the first TEDx University of Essex event ‘Promise through Research’ which was held in October 2014 as part of the University's 50th anniversary celebrations.

Activists from Equality Can’t Wait and Homeless Action put their human rights campaigns on the housing Chief Executive’s agenda.

On Tuesday 14th October 2014, 15 housing activists from the Equality Can’t Wait and Homeless Action campaigns held a positive first meeting with Ms. Mags Lightbody, Chief Executive of the NI Housing Executive.

Residents involved in the Equality Can't Wait group have written to MLA’s requesting that they use their powers to make the demand for a time-bound, resourced strategy to tackle religious inequality in housing an Executive priority. Religious inequality in social housing in North Belfast has been a subject of controversy for a number of years, culminating in interventions and recommendations by international institutions.

International Wall Mural

In the run up to elections Equality Can't Wait activists have been very busy securing support for the #BuildHomesNow campaign

Housing4All are a group of asylum seekers who are trying to ensure that the human right to housing is realised for destitute asylum seekers in Northern Ireland. 

Between October-December 2015 Housing for All were supported by Participation and Practice of Rights (PPR) to: monitor how their human right to housing was being violated; how it impacted individuals and families; and identify possible solutions.

"Any decision on housing in North Belfast has to evidence how it will concretely address the inequality experienced, in this case, by the Catholic community. Attempting to build good relations on the basis of denying the needs, frustrating the rights, and silencing the voices of the poorest is wrong in itself as it is destructive to the goal of building a shared future." Inez McCormack (PPR Founder, May 2012)

PPR's Seán Brady charts the progress of the Equality Can't Wait campaign and outlines what is required of our political representatives to finally address religious inequality in housing across north Belfast.

As Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland fails to meet delegation of residents at Stormont, more political party representatives endorse United Nations recommendations to address North Belfast housing inequality

UN Rapporteur Report Calls for North Belfast Housing Inequality to Be Tackled

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing today released the Report of her Official Mission to the UK. In the report, the Rapporteur Ms. Raquel Rolnik includes a section specifically on housing inequality that impacts the Catholic community in North Belfast, and calls for 'concerted efforts' to address the situation.

Residents due to present evidence to Dolores Kelly MLA, Social Development Committee Representative

Social housing residents from North Belfast are meeting today (Wednesday 15th January 2013)  with the SDLP’s Social Housing spokesperson and representative on the NI Assembly Social Development Committee Dolores Kelly MLA to present over a year’s worth of research into the poor housing conditions and experiences of families on the waiting list in North Belfast.


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