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.

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

DSD logo

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.

The Detail website

"In a post-NIHE housing era in Northern Ireland, the principles of equality and objective need must be adhered to. Otherwise, rather than ‘Facing the Future’, we will be 'Reliving the Past'." Last week Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland MLA announced plans to dismantle the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and restructure the delivery of social housing. Investiative journalism website, The Detail, published PPR's analysis.

PPR have expressed serious concern about the Department for Social Development's proposals for Northern Ireland's first ever Housing Strategy in a response to the DSD "Facing the Future" consultation.

UN Recognise the Work Seven Towers Residents Group

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has recognised the work of the Belfast based Seven Towers Residents Group as an international best practice example of using international human rights standards to make local change.

In the aftermath of recent ‘Equality Can’t Wait’ actions by north Belfast residents, five women in four separate parts of the constituency, each in their own way enduring the effects of the failing social housing system, wrote detailed letters to the NIHE asking for answers.

Equality Can't Wait Campaign Visits the Minister

A group of over 30 mothers and children on the social housing waiting list in north Belfast visited the Department for Social Development on Monday 6th August, to deliver a petition asking for equality legislation to be implemented in NI’s social housing new build programme.


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