Tippecanoe Co. plays large role in veterans lottery ticket bill

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) — Tippecanoe County is taking the lead on a bill that would help homeless veterans through a lottery scratch-off ticket.

Winning the lottery is all about luck but this ticket is designed for veterans who are down on theirs.

Lafayette Transitional Housing Director Jennifer Layton was one of the people who helped State Sen. Ron Alting write a bill that would fund homeless vets through a scratch off.

“Last year just in Tippecanoe and the surrounding counties we served 126 homeless veterans,” said Layton. “If we are going to end homelessness for veterans, we need financial resources. But again, it’s not just about the housing, we also need additional supports and that includes mental health services that includes substance use services.”

Sen Alting added, “We’re looking for a long-term solution here, not a short term.”

Alting first proposed the bill last year, but he’s made a few adjustments.

“What I did was designate 40 percent of the funds to go back to the general fund,” he said.

Typically, lottery tickets benefit the general fund for police and fire pensions. So, 40 percent of the vet ticket would still go to that cause, but the majority would help those who served our country.

“If I had a wish, it would be for all homeless people,” said Alting. “I wish we could raise enough money to help all, but you know this could be a kick start and hopefully make a positive effect on 700 homeless veterans throughout Indiana.”

If the bill passes, the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs will manage it.

Alting said he’s not sure how the lottery commission will price the scratch off. He guesses $5.

He does know you will likely see pictures of real Hoosier veterans featured on the ticket.

“That’s far better than a picture of me,” joked Alting. “They couldn’t raise $10 [if Alting was on the ticket]. They couldn’t sell two tickets.”

Illinois has a similar program, and it has raised more than $13 million in grants to veteran organizations since it was created in 2006.

The Veteran’s Affairs Committee will hear the bill next week.

News 18 will continue to provide updates on the status of this bill.