Students face unprecedented housing and financial circumstances. Rent and other living costs in the Los Angeles area have skyrocketed; the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing economic uncertainty exacerbated these issues and presented further challenges.

Student Housing Relief Awards 2021

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
26 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on November 26, at 01:00 AM PST
Project Owners

Our name, our mission, and ways for you to get involved.

Who are we? 

The Meet Material Needs (MMN) platform is a committee made up of hardworking students dedicated to aiding their peers. Many students at UCLA face financial hardships and the economic burdens from the COVID-19 pandemic and following economic uncertainty exacerbated students’ financial strain. As a part of the Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC) office of the Internal Vice President, MMN aims to assist students in Westwood and the greater L.A. area that have been affected by financial burdens related to housing, specifically the recent economic uncertainty of COVID-19 and disruption of the global economy. With a focus on implementing housing grants, our goal is to offer relief to students during these times of high unemployment, reduced pay, and economic uncertainty in order to provide students access to affordable housing.

What’s the problem? 

UCLA students face an unprecedented economic crisis: ever-growing rent costs, job uncertainty prompted by the pandemic, pay reductions, and evictions despite concerns over social distancing and safety. UCLA is also located within one of the most expensive zip codes in the country, with the high costs of renting adding onto the student body’s financial burdens. In the Spring quarter, students received some financial support from the CARES Act but eligibility of funds were determined by students’ 2019-2020 FAFSA filing. The CARES Act failed to take into consideration students’ current financial situations, with widespread unemployment/reduction of income affecting students and their families. With no end in sight, swift action must be taken in order to ensure UCLA students have proper access to affordable living, food, and many other resources necessary to focus as they safely transition back to in-person instruction.

The Meet Material Needs platform surveyed the UCLA student body and uncovered the following results: the COVID-19 pandemic and its ensuing economic fallout have negatively affected a majority of students’ ability to pay for rent and other housing costs. Most students and their families are facing unemployment or income reduction, due to medical costs, such factors as forced time away from work, or unstable financial background. When surveyed, 80% of students reported insecurity and concern with affording living expenses, such as groceries. Approximately 90% reported feeling insecure and concerned with their ability to pay rent for off-campus apartments or costs of university-owned housing. 50% of respondents struggled to pay for groceries over the last year, and roughly one in three respondents reported experiencing homelessness, eviction, or “doubling up” with friends to avoid sleeping on the streets.

Shown below are a few examples of the data we collected when surveying the student body.

Survey question: Did COVID-19 and the following economic instability affect your ability to pay rent (or housing payments)?

Survey results:

Survey question: If yes, how did COVID-19 affect your ability to pay rent?

Survey results:Forms response chart. Question title: If yes, how did COVID-19 affect your ability to pay rent?. Number of responses: 23 responses.

Survey question: Please select any of the following you have experienced (off-campus, on-campus, other) during the pandemic from the start of the 2020-2021 school year to now:

Survey results:Forms response chart. Question title: Please select any of the following you have experienced (off-campus, on-campus, other) during the pandemic from the start of 2020-2021 school year to now:. Number of responses: 38 responses.

From the data collected, COVID-19 and the following economic uncertainty drastically interrupted the living situations for many UCLA students, exacerbating already strained finances for students due to spikes in unemployment, reduced income, and rising costs of living. While the experiences of students differed with regard to the pandemic and financial insecurity, a  common thread can be found: most, if not all, students faced economic hardship during a time of crisis. Below are a few testimonials from students with their experiences from the previous year:

Student Testimonials 

“Originally [I] lived on campus but terminated [the] housing contract at the start of the pandemic to move back home. Economic stress of the pandemic complicated things back home and I was subsequently homeless. I moved over 12 times over the course of the pandemic, having stayed with various relatives, friends, and my car at one point. Struggled to pay for food and school. Found a job recently, and now receive food stamps but am still unable to rent out an affordable place. Looking for roommates, but many students moved back home with their respective families to avoid paying rent and save money in these trying times. I am currently still looking for housing.” - anonymous student who experienced houselessness


“I am a low income first gen student and I do not feel financially stable to live in the dorms. However I am choosing to because it would be my second year, and I have not had a first in-person year.“ - anonymous second-year, first-generation student


“The value of the dollar is increasing internationally, and the currency of my country is devaluating. Now, I have to pay double from what it costs.” - anonymous international student

Our Solution 

In an effort to provide direct assistance to students during these turbulent times, the Meet Material Needs (MMN) platform is proposing a Student Housing Relief Award, funded through UCLA Spark. Through Spark crowdsource funding, MMN hopes to provide housing insecure students with needs-based grants to help alleviate their financial burdens. With a $5,000 goal, MMN hopes to directly relieve students of various backgrounds and communities. 

With the hardships that COVID-19 and its ensuing economic uncertainty exacerbated, including job insecurity and rising rent costs, student resources are more necessary than ever. These financial difficulties are taking away from students’ ability to transition to a safe and equitable learning environment, resulting in a diminished student experience and lowered performance. Instead of focusing on their schoolwork and lives and flourishing young adults, many students have felt concern over their human right to housing during a global pandemic. Through the Housing Relief Award, we hope to ease these burdens and enable students to safely and assuredly return to campus and student life. With the pandemic still affecting students and their family’s financial security, donations to our campaign can directly assist financially insecure students with their rights to housing, education, and prosperous young lives. We thank all who pledge to donate to our campaign, and we hope all remain safe and warm during these trying times. 


Our way
of Thanking You


1 UCLA Sticker for $10 donors

For those who make one-time donations of $10, a sticker will be mailed as a token of our appreciation. (Tax deductible donation of $7.50).

7 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2021


Personalized E-Postcard

We will send a personalized e-postcard, thanking you for your generous donation. (Tax-deductible donation of $50)

2 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2021


2 Stickers, E-Postcard

2 stickers and an E-Postcard will be sent to you as a token of our appreciation. Tax-deductible donation of $95.

1 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2021


Bruin Starter Pack

Two stickers, one e-postcard, and one shoutout on a social media story on USAC-affiliated sites. Tax-deductible donation of $295.

0 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2021


Social Media Advertising

USAC-affiliated student organizations will display and advertise a banner / graphic with your business logo and website. Tax-deductible donation of $300.

0 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: October 2021
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