Turnbull tightens grip on welfare dollars

Australians living in social housing could soon have their welfare payments automatically docked to cover rent and utility bills.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter believes the scheme will help reduce homelessness among tenants with serious rental debts who are at risk of eviction or housing abandonment.

In 2013-14, more than 8900 households living in social housing – including families with children – owed more than three weeks of rent.

More than 2300 people were evicted due to rental arrears.

“It is highly likely many of these families end up in specialist homelessness services or staying with family or friends or indeed sleeping rough,” Mr Porter said.

“This is undoubtedly a terrible circumstance for the individuals and families involved and of course can lead to long-term homelessness.”

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