Government seeks to reduce number of street people

The central government is mobilizing a number of agencies to assist, protect and prevent abandoned individuals and street people.

Budgets of a handful of agencies will be tapped to produce 3.7 billion colons over two years or about $6.5 million, said Casa Presidencial,

There is no doubt that Costa Rica has a street people problem. Saturday when members of a religious group brought food to those along Avenida 5 near Calle 2 more than 200 disheveled individuals turned out.

The problem of abandonment is less visible. Some are in public hospitals with no place to go and with no overriding medical problem.

Their families, if they have one,  abandoned them.

Casa Presidencial said that the program would combat the exclusion and social inequality that has affected historically this population, speaking of street people.

A decree establishing this problem is soon to be published in the official La Gaceta newspaper.

The government plans to strengthen the care and protection of these groups with independent homes, multi-family homes,
institutional residences, private residences and temporary shelters, it said. The plan also calls for shelters that are air conditioned.

The project originated with the  Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social and the vice president’s office on humane development and social inclusion.

Some of the agencies involves are the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social, the  Ministerio de Planificación Nacional y Política Económica, the  Consejo Nacional de Personas con Discapacidad, the Consejo Nacional de la Persona Adulta Mayor, the lottery agency, which is the Junta de Protección Social, and others.

The project is supposed to be for 10 years, although the Luis Guillermo Solís administration has less than two years left in office.

Ana Helena Chacón, the vice president, said that officials want to create an effective rapid response system and a registry of abandoned persons, mainly those in Caja hospitals.

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