Many residents of Los Angeles struggle to meet their basic needs such as food and safe housing on a daily basis, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened these difficulties for many. College students are particularly vulnerable to being unable to pay for basic necessities due to the existing barriers to employment, combined with the economic downturn and lack of jobs caused by the pandemic. One possible solution to help this at-risk population better meet their basic needs is to provide emergency aid, frequently in the form of cash transfers. These payments ensure that in times of distress, vulnerable populations can meet their basic needs. Further, the lessons learned from cash payments to these at-risk populations can have wider applications for other innovative cash transfer programs like Universal Basic Income.