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City Health Director Evonda Thomas announced last night that a new Federally Qualified Health Center will be coming to Evanston.

A partner, Erie Family Health Center from the West Side of Chicago, will be expanding its services to include Evanston., offering comprehensive health care services to the community regardless of ability to pay.

 Ms. Thomas said the City and Erie will work together to apply for federal funding for the new Center, but both the City and Erie CEO Dr. Lee Francis emphasized that the health center would open and operate regardless of whether it received federal funding.

Initially, the Center will be located in the Civic Center in the same area as the Dental Clinic, said Ms. Thomas. “We will start the build-out in January or February,” she said, and the result will be five dental stations and five medical exam rooms.

The longer-term plan is to move the medical center out into the community. “We are looking at Dempster-Dodge,” she said.

A decision on federal funding is expected in May or June, but the health center should be up and running about that time.

 Erie Family Health Center was founded on Erie Street on Chicago’s near west side in 1957.

In 1970, it gained status as a full service community health center, and in 1983 became a Federally Qualified Health Center. Because the organization has already attained FQHC status, there will be no need to go through the qualifying process. “Our doors are open to all,” said Dr. Francis.