Housing ‘superstar’ gets results for homeless. Here’s how

Josh Vizcaino finds his purpose at Volusia County nonprofit

The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia has a mission: to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and prevent homelessness.

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia has a mission: to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and prevent homelessness.

This week’s News 6 Getting Results Award winner is bringing that mission to reality.

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The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia is a one-stop social service agency that sits on two acres off Woodland Boulevard in DeLand. The campus has a neighborhood feel, with 10 buildings and a range of uses, including an emergency shelter, office space, a thrift store, pantry and permanent supportive housing.

Josh Vizcaino joined the staff in 2019 as a housing case manager and quickly was promoted to chief housing director.

Operations Director Waylan Niece said Vizcaino’s determination is what impresses him most.

“He hits the mark over and over again,” Niece said. “That doesn’t just have a positive impact for the agency as a whole, it has the most significant impact on the community.”

Vizcaino has been able to find housing for more than 100 families in the past year. Niece calls that quite an accomplishment, considering the lack of housing options and a pandemic, which has made everything a challenge.

“Josh is adamant, attentive and intense most of the time,” said Niece, describing Vizcaino’s work ethic.

Susan Clark, the executive director of The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, said Vizcaino is getting results.

“Josh is really a superstar in the housing world,” Clark said. “He’s making it happen.”

“Anyone who works in a nonprofit, there has to be a core passion to help those folks,” Clark said. “Josh has that passion. He also has the organizational ability to make it happen.”

Vizcaino honed his organizational skills as a project facilitator. He traveled around the country training workers how to use new company software. But Vizcaino said it didn’t satisfy his sense of purpose.

“I thought one day, ‘What am I doing? Am I honestly helping?’” Vizcaino remembers. “If my daughter asks me, ‘Hey, what do you do dad? I’m a project facilitator and I train ...’ I wanted something that my daughter could say she was proud of.”

Vizcaino said he studied the Florida grant qualifications for weeks to get a better idea of how he could help everyone who enters his office.

He said his biggest challenge is finding available properties. He spends hours visiting landlords to explain how they can help.

“I want to be part of the solution,” Vizcaino said. “It reassures me that I’m making a difference.”

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About the Author:

Paul is a Florida native who graduated from the University of Central Florida. As a multimedia journalist, Paul enjoys profiling the people and places that make Central Florida unique.