Scrounging for cardboard to use as a mattress while he slept at Melbourne's Flinders Street Station, 24-year-old Leeroy knows the reality of homelessness all too well.
It's the life he lived for five years.
"I had good and bad experiences ... But it's pretty rough," he said.
Just metres from the concrete jungle he called home, the National Youth Homelessness Conference is being held in Melbourne on Monday.
The National Report Card on Youth Homelessness, to be delivered at the conference, says crisis-focused systems aren't working and government action over the past decade earned "a C-minus at best".
Organisers say little progress has been made, despite two landmark studies in 1989 and 2008, and the homelessness conference - the first to focus solely on youth in 20 years - aims to develop a reform agenda to address the issue.
Professor David MacKenzie said despite "ad-hoc state and federal government initiatives in the past decade", promises to invest in early intervention had been largely unfulfilled.
"As a result, the number of people experiencing homelessness, particularly young people, has increased disproportionately to population growth in the last 10 years," he said.
"One-in-four Australians experiencing homelessness is a young person aged 12-24, which is widely acknowledged as an underestimate."
During the two-day conference at Melbourne Town Hall, those attending will discuss policy reforms including early intervention, rapid rehousing, engagement in education and employment and the possibility of extending state care to 21 years of age.
Young homeless people will also speak about their experiences, including Leeroy and Queenie, now 22, who became homeless, sleeping on Melbourne's streets, at just 18.
She grew up in a chaotic and violent family and spent time in foster care from the age of 15.
"I've slept on streets, in parks, in refuges ... It was chaotic, hectic and shocking," she said.
Queenie has now been in stable housing for eight months, is studying youth work at RMIT and is "much happier now".
Australian Associated Press