Life hasn't been easy for those living at Aspire residential resource centre.

A new resource for young people in Montreal, it aims to provide an easy transition to adulthood for those who grew up with foster families or without consistent guidance.

One 19-year-old woman, who wished not to be identified, said she left home a year ago because her family was manipulative and verbally abusive.

“After an oral presentation at school, I just went on my break, grabbed my bag, and a couple of items – mostly my school items, my school books. I had clothing for up to four days,” she said.

She never felt at home.

“I felt it was mostly a place that my parents would just make me stay there and I felt trapped and because of that I said there is something better out there for me,” she said.

After months of sleeping on couches and still feeling lost and isolated, she was welcomed at Aspire by Marie-Josée Roy.

The centre is Roi’s brainchild; she proposed it to help with the many challenges young people face.

“We expect way too much. We expect them to be ready at 18, to think of everything, from where am I going to live, how am I going to live, how am I going to buy my food,” she explained.

The centre is located in a residential neighourhood and is open to young adults 18 to 25 years old. Most have been living with foster families, in group homes or at Batshaw Youth and Family Centres.

“Isolation, loneliness. There are some addiction problems, a lot of mental health problems, but the biggest one is a lack of support. A lot of them have families but the families aren’t able to be there to support them,” she said.

Aspire spends up to two years teaching five young adults practical skills such as how to budget, cook and manage their time – but also skills including how to manage stress and conflict.

They pay $200 in monthly rent, half of which is returned to them when they leave.

The young people have a live-in mentor to help them along the way.

“What I hope I can provide is a reassuring presence,” said Jessica Perreault-Howarth. “If nothing else, so that they know they’re not alone and if there’s something on their mind or they have a question that I’m a phone call away or I’m just in my room.”

The people who live there say they find it reassuring.

“It’s a good feeling,” said the 19-year-old woman. “It’s something I wish I had with my mom, but I didn’t. But having this now, it’s giving me more courage and more determination.”