The Board of Supervision (for the Relief of the Poor in Jamaica) was established under the Poor Relief Law 1886.
Throughout the years it has:
- Formed part of the portfolio of different Ministries for varying periods e.g. Home Affairs, Social Security (1981), Local Government [on different occasions],
- Assumed non-statutory responsibilities and functions:
- Administration of rehabilitation grants
- Administration of family allowances
- Adjudication of indigent housing cases
- Distribution of donated items including food
- Investigation of emergency cases (flood, drought, hurricane, fire, etc.)
- Investigation of cases for assistance to children awarded free places in High Schools
- Investigation of cases of ex-government employees for compassionate allowances.
3. In 1972, some functions; rehabilitation grants, family allowances and compassionate grants, were removed from the Board of Supervision to establish the Public Assistance Division in the then Ministry of Pensions and Social Security.
4. Several reviews of the organization and its functions has taken place, although its core function, that of administration of the Poor Relief Programmes remained intact.
5. The Board of Supervision conducts its activities mainly in relation to three programmes: Poor Relief Outdoor Assistance, Poor Relief Institutional Care- Infirmaries and Street People Programme. (Please see links to associate files).
In 2000 the Board of Supervision was mandated to provide oversight for homelessness in Jamaica.
This gave rise to the formulation of the Committee for the Homeless, to develop and facilitate the implementation of Policies and Programmes for the homeless and to support the work of existing facilities.
This Committee meets monthly and was chaired by Dr. Maureen Irons Morgan, Senior Medical Officer, of the Bellevue Hospital. The members are drawn from Government, Non-Governmental and Faith Based Organizations, Service Clubs, Private Individuals and Homeless Persons.
A draft strategic plan to end chronic homelessness has been written and circulated to stakeholders for comments.
The Department of Local Government has committed to write a Policy on Homelessness during the year 2008 – 2009.