The last Census in 2011 found almost five per cent of households in the city were overcrowded, having at least one bedroom fewer than the family needed,
Rates for BAME communities were higher than this – 13 per cent of Asian households, 13 per cent of Black/African/Caribbean households and 18 per cent of households in the ‘other ethnic group’ category.
The highest rates are in Burngreave, the city centre, Darnall, Fir Vale and Woodside and were higher for social and private renters, than for owner occupiers.
Coun Kaltum Rivers raised the issue at a council meeting, asking: “Overcrowding was one of the elements of inequality that contributed to members of the BAME communities being affected by Covid. What plans does the council have to address this issue?”
Coun Paul Wood, Cabinet member for housing, said the council would investigate any reports, work with families and landlords to address it and take statutory enforcement action where necessary.
“The levels of overcrowding are driven by a lack of affordability, and in some cases, limited availability of larger properties,” he said.
“Households who meet the criteria are given priority for rehousing. There are currently 23 households with a rehousing priority due to overcrowding, 17 of the 23 are BAME, suggesting that this issue particularly affects BAME communities.
“Nine households with overcrowding priority have been rehoused so far in 2021.
“Seven households who required a two or three bedroom property had waited on average 25 weeks since their priority was awarded.
“The two households who required a four-bedroom property had waited an average of 97 weeks. This emphasises the shortage of four bed homes.”
Coun Wood said the council is delivering 3,100 new homes and a lack of four bed family properties has been recognised as a priority.