LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Graduating from college is tough enough. But Shellv Candler has been studying at Cal State Long Beach while struggling with homelessness.
"Unexpected things can happen in your life and homelessness can hit anyone. Everyone is one paycheck away from being out in the streets," Candler said.
During Candler's first year in school, she lost her job and soon after her mother became ill and ultimately placed on disability. For a while, without anyone knowing, she juggled with school while trying to find shelter at night.
"It's hard, it's stressful and overwhelming at times. There were times when I broke down, there were times when I wanted to give up."
A preliminary study by Professor Rashida Crutchfield found that 1 in 10 students in the nation's largest public university system, Cal State, have food insecurities or are lacking a place to sleep at night.
"We could say that the economy might be having an influence on what's happening. We could say the cost of living definitely has an influence on whether or not people are going to be able to find affordable housing," said Crutchfield, with the CSU Long Beach School of Social Work.
Crutchfield says a study like this has never been done before and collecting data was not easy, because struggling students don't like to talk about the issue.
For Candler, things changed once she reached out to the school's student emergency intervention and wellness program. Now she works on campus and lives in a transitional home with her mother.
"There is light at the end of the tunnel," she said.