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July 29, 1999

Governor Ryan Petitions President Clinton For Heat Relief Funds

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today joined Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley in requesting federal assistance for emergency heat relief funding.

Last week, the National Weather Service declared the Chicago area to be in an Extreme Heat Emergency and the temperatures and heat indices are expected to be even higher this weekend.

Mayor Daley contacted President Clinton earlier in the week with a request for emergency funds to subsidize electrical service for senior citizens and low income families.

A necessary formal request from the Governor has been sent to President Clinton to release the funds, which have already been appropriated by Congress.

"The citizens who are most vulnerable to the effects of the heat crisis-our elderly, those with illnesses and families with small children-often don't have access to air conditioners and fans," said Governor Ryan. "And those who do are afraid to use them because of the added cost to their electric bills.

"If we can convince the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to allocate funds under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, we will be able to respond to this crisis."

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office has counted 11 heat-related deaths since July 22.

For those in need of assistance, the city operates cooling centers throughout the Chicago area. Chicagoans can alert City Hall to anyone who might need municipal services during the heat wave or they may call 311 for cooling center information.


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