THE HUNGER SAFETY NET PROGRAM (HSNP), sponsored by the Government of Kenya and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, will provide reliable monthly cash transfers of approximately US$15 to households that live in extreme poverty in northern Kenya. These cash transfers should improve the capacity of beneficiary households to meet immediate, essential needs. Yet will these transfers place households on a footing from which they can craft a pathway from poverty? If the processes that cause destitution in the first place are not altered, it is unlikely that HSNP transfers will, by themselves, generate sustainable poverty reduction. Risk and realization of droughts and other large shocks in northern Kenya drive households into extreme poverty and make it difficult for them to escape once they are destitute. Mitigating risk should help alter these dynamics.