'It's about being proactive': After 3 women die in sweltering Rogers Park apartment, City Council holds hearing to push for changes
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Cooling centers and heat warnings can help keep you safe and informed during this heat wave. 

They can also keep people from dying. CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reports from Rogers Park where there are added concerns in that neighborhood because of the number of senior buildings and a recent tragedy.

That concern only heightened after three residents  in one senior building died during last month’s heat wave, despite calls for help. But the city is now one step closer to putting cooling requirements on the books, too. 

In the 49th ward, heat warnings, like this one, began going out to senior buildings and nursing homes days ago. 

“It’s about being proactive.”

Alderwoman Maria Hadden (49th) said her staffers also began calling buildings to make sure they were prepared for this extreme heat and to avoid a tragic repeat of what happened inside the James Sneider Apartments in May.

It’s where three residents died, even after repeated calls to building management and the city for help.

A public records request from CBS 2 found there were five calls made to 311 about the extreme heat in the building. Most were made days before the three residents died on May 14. 

A hearing into the lack of response by both building management and the city just got the green light from city council members this week

In addition to that hearing, the City Council’s zoning committee will meet next week to discuss changes to the building code that would add cooling requirements for some buildings, in addition to heating requirements. 

One change would require building owners make temperature adjustments in the often unpredictable months of May and October, which didn’t happen in the James Sneider Apartments. 

Right now, the law only requires landlords provide heat between September 15 and June 1.

“So you’ll see some additional recommendations for two pipe systems on those shoulder months. You’re also going to see guidance on external temperatures,” Hadden said.

The ordinance would also require buildings of a certain size have permanent cooling centers. Hadden expects it to also pass the full City Council at next week’s meeting, the day after it’s discussed in committee.

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