In recent years there has been increasing recognition that housing policies and programs can also affect other aspects of individual and community wellbeing, so called ‘non-shelter outcomes’, such as participation in paid employment, health status, education levels and community cohesion. There has been most interest at a policy level in the linkages between housing assistance and participation in paid employment, driven largely by the Commonwealth’s ‘welfare reform’ strategy. But despite the flurry of activity by housing policy makers in trying to come up with measures to improve employment participation by unemployed renters, for example, as part of urban renewal projects, the interrelationship between housing, housing assistance and work disincentives is not well understood in the Australian context. Moreover, the impacts of this interrelationship are tenure specific. The disincentives faced by unemployed public housing renters are different from that faced by unemployed private renters. For the former, taking a job usually means an increase in rent. For the latter, it usually means the loss of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (RA). This report aims to fill a gap in our knowledge about the role of housing and housing assistance in contributing to disincentives to taking up paid work or working more hours. Based on a survey of 400 renters in both the public and private sectors in Sydney and Melbourne who were actively seeking work, it confirms that there are significant barriers and disincentives stemming from the housing position of these renters.