Solís admistration begins major anti-poverty push

The Solís administration announced a plan Thursday to reduce extreme poverty.

One innovation is to assign social workers to supervise poor families and their use of government services.

The program is called Puente al Desarrollo, “Bridge to Development.”  Over the remainder of the term of President Luis Gullermo Solís, the government plans to include some 54,600 families.

The financial stipend is not a lot, just 75,000 colons or about $142 a month. But the selected families will have priority access to other government services, including health insurance with the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, the announcement said.

The program is being run by the Orwellian-sounding  Ministro de Desarrollo Humano e Inclusión Social.

The government said that the families will be guaranteed access to social protection, connected with possible employment, given job training, a dignified dwelling and the advantages of technology.

The families will be found in the 75 poorest districts of the country. The government is using census data and online mapping to define the areas. A number of other government agencies are involved.

Each social worker involved will seek out and oversee some 175 families and create individual plans to lift them from extreme poverty, the government said.

The government announcement said that this program will not cost any extra money because it would be a process of moving existing budgets around to make them more efficient.

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