Friday, December 14, 2001

Bill to help vets just waits on Bush

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The federal government will spend $200 million on programs for homeless veterans over the next five years, under legislation named for Kentuckian and former Miss America Heather French Henry.

        The Heather French Henry Homeless Veterans Assistance Act is waiting to be signed into law by President George W. Bush. It unanimously passed the House Tuesday after passing the Senate.

        Ms. French Henry, the wife of Lt. Gov. Steve Henry and a Kentucky native, was crowned Miss America in 1999. She is a Maysville, Ky., native and the daughter of a Vietnam veteran. During her reign as Miss America, veterans concerns and charities were a focus of Ms. French's goodwill visits.

        Last year she traveled to Washington to testify in favor of the bill. Since then she has made public appearances and lobbied on behalf of the bill.

        The bill will provide an additional $50 million a year to the Department of Veterans' Affairs homeless programs. The money will be used to to prevent at-risk veterans from ending up on the street, providing treatment that meets special needs of veterans — such as substance abuse — and using VA buildings to house homeless veterans.

        Mr. Bush received the bill Thursday and has until Dec. 25 to sign it into law, according to the White House press office.


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