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.

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.

Hostel Residents Use the Media to Raise Awareness of Religious Inequality in the Face of Ongoing Ministerial Denial

Sammy Jo and Orlaigh Lavery, who each live with their children in the Gráinne house hostel this week took their stories to the media to raise awareness of the human impact of the ongoing failure by the DSD to build and allocate homes based on need.

The Human Impact of Inequality: Residents Call on Minister to Uphold their Rights

North Belfast residents present human impact of inequality to public bodies. Yesterday (19th September 2013) five north Belfast residents hand delivered letters and evidence to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive of their continuing dire housing circumstances.

UN Special Rapporteur Raises Concerns About Housing Inequality in North Belfast

Preliminary findings of UN Expert express concerns over North Belfast inequality and the sectarianisation of housing.

Commissioner for Children Says North Belfast High Rise Housing is Not Good Enough

Following last week’s launch of PPR's 'Equality Can’t Wait' report, which chronicles ten years of failed housing policy and religious inequality in North Belfast, families living in high rise social housing in north Belfast’s Seven Towers and Harborview Apartments took the Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley-Mooney, on a visit to both housing complexes this week.

PPR Launch Housing Inequality Report

An alarming report released today by the Participation and the Practice of Rights organisation (PPR), entitled ‘Equality Can’t Wait’, evidences how a series of Ministerial, statutory and council failures have compounded religious inequality in housing across North Belfast.

PPR have expressed serious concerns around plans to change the Housing Selection Scheme in a response to a Northern Ireland Housing Executive Equality Impact Assessment on the policy.

PPR Response to the Announcement

“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, May 2012

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PPR have previously highlighted serious concerns around the Department for Social Development’s plans for housing in Northern Ireland in our response to the Facing the Future strategy consultation. We have also contributed a guest post to various blog and news media sites expressing particular concern over any plans by the Department to move away from targeting objective need - a policy commitment in Northern Ireland stretching back over 20 years.

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