SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – This sizzling summer of 2012 has prompted Illinois officials to revive a program that helps poor families cool their homes.
The state has set aside $10 million for the financial aid, or enough to help about 60,000 households.
Help with the cost of air conditioning had been routine in Illinois as part of LIHEAP, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
But that help was canceled last year when federal funds were cut. State officials decided to use all the remaining money to help pay heating bills in the winter.
This year, however, Illinois is suffering an extremely hot summer. Many areas suffered day after day of 100-plus temperatures earlier this month, and the unusually hot weather continues.
The average statewide temperature for the first half of July was 6.2 degrees above the historic average, said state climatologist Jim Angel. Preliminary data shows 186 new daily records have been set so far this month.
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