Creating a Living Room in Evanston as an alternative to hospital emergency rooms for persons experiencing a mental health crisis is one of the social services proposals City Council members discussed Monday night.

The Council has allocated $4 million of its total $43.2 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to social service programs.

The Living Room concept, promoted by the Chicago Community Trust and other organizations, has been implemented in more than 20 locations across Illinois, including LaGrange, Northfield and Skokie.

Evanston’s housing and grants manager, Sarah Flax, says potential sites for a Living Room here include Amita Health and the Erie Family Health Center and that Josselyn Center and Turning Point are being considered as possible service providers.

Flax says funding from the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health may be be available to help fund the cost of the project.

The City Council members encouraged staff to move forward with planning for that project as well as with proposed social services projects to offer some form of assistance to childcare providers in Evanston and for creation of a welcoming center for immigrants. No final decisions about the projects were made.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.