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Auto rent deduction for housing tenants

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September 14, 2017

Christian Porter says new welfare measures will help reduce homelessness.

People living in social housing will have their rent and utility bills automatically deducted from welfare payments under a new federal government scheme.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter, who introduced legislation to parliament on Thursday, said the measure will help reduce homelessness for tenants in serious rental arrears that could - and often does - lead to eviction or housing abandonment.

The new scheme will start in March 2018 and comes in response to concerns from all levels government.

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.

"As social housing is generally the most affordable housing option available, 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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