Illinois budget impasse spurs creative way to fund shelters

Illinois homeless shelters struggling to get by without state aid during the budget stalemate could get a much-needed financial boost thanks to specialty scratch-off lottery ticket sales.
    
A measure pending in the Illinois Legislature would create a new $3 scratch ticket and designate all the proceeds for grants to help homeless shelters. South suburban Chicago Democrat Rep. Thaddeus Jones, one of three legislators sponsoring the bill, says it’s "a creative way to address homelessness."
    
The proposal demonstrates one instance in which lawmakers are scrambling to find a way to sustain funding for one of the many programs that can no longer operate at full capacity without state support. The state’s budget for the current year should’ve taken effect July 1.
    
State officials say homelessness affects about 38,000 people in Illinois.

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