MVT Women’s History Month Celebration Concludes with an Interview with The h3 Project Founder Dr. Ami Angell! 

Thursday March 28, 2024

To close out MVT’s celebration of Women’s History Month we today shine the spotlight on a woman who is literally moving mountains in our community. Dr. Ami Angell is the founder of The h3 Project, which provides homelessness and human trafficking outreach services around DC including here in Mount Vernon Triangle. Ami’s work is a valuable contribution to MVT CID’s mission to create a clean, safe, and welcoming neighborhood for all to experience and enjoy – including our neighbors who are unhoused or otherwise unstably housed – and we could not be more appreciative for all that she and her team does!

Check out our interview with Ami below to read more about her journey, her career in homeless and human trafficking outreach, and her advice to women interested in entering her field of work:

MVT CID: How did you get involved in your industry?

Dr. Angell: Owning a non-profit on homelessness and human trafficking has been an incredible journey that is deeply rooted in my personal experience. At the age of 16, I found myself facing the harsh reality of homelessness. Fortunately, I was fortunate enough to have the support and resources necessary to overcome this period in my life.

This experience has had a profound and lasting impact on me. Once you hear someone’s story and truly understand how they ended up on the streets, it changes everything. Homelessness stops being just a statistic or a distant problem; it becomes a deeply human issue that tugs at your heart. It becomes impossible to view homelessness in the same way again.

This newfound understanding and empathy led me to establish The h3 Project- a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the intertwined issues of homelessness and human trafficking. I realized that I had the power to make a difference, to do all that I can to create a positive impact in the lives of those affected by these challenges.

Through our organization, we are working tirelessly to provide support and resources to individuals who have experienced homelessness and those who have fallen victim to human trafficking. Our aim is to help them rebuild their lives and create a brighter future for themselves. We offer a range of services, from handing out supplies, to ordering vital documents, to mental health and detox referrals, and many more- all with the end goal of getting individuals off the streets and into housing.

MVT CID: What advice can you offer to women looking to break into your industry?

Dr. Angell: For women looking to break into the homelessness and human trafficking industry, I have a few pieces of advice:

  1. Research and Volunteer: Take the time to research organizations that are already working in this field and align with your interests and goals. Consider volunteering with these organizations to gain firsthand experience and ensure that the work is a good fit for you. This will also help you understand the challenges and demands of the industry.
  2. Seek Mentorship: Connect with professionals who are already working in the industry and seek their guidance and mentorship. They can provide valuable insights, advice, and support as you navigate your career path.
  3. Develop Resilience: Working in the homelessness and human trafficking field can be emotionally and physically demanding. It’s essential to develop resilience and self-care practices to effectively cope with the challenges you may encounter. Take care of your well-being and prioritize self-care.
  4. Stay Committed: Working with marginalized individuals requires dedication and a long-term commitment. It’s important to have a genuine passion for the work and a desire to make a difference. Be prepared for the ups and downs and remain committed to the cause.
  5. Build a Strong Network: Networking is crucial in any industry. Connect with professionals, attend industry events, and join relevant organizations or communities. Building a strong network will not only provide support and opportunities but also help you stay updated on the latest trends and developments in the field.

Remember, breaking into any industry takes time and effort. Stay persistent, keep learning, and seize opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.

MVT CID: Did any women inspire or assist you early in your career?

Dr. Angell: Certainly! Mother Teresa’s unwavering determination and tireless efforts in helping others have always served as a guiding light for me. While I can never hope to reach the level of influence she did, I am deeply moved by Mother Teresa’s commitment to caring for the most vulnerable members of society. Her compassion and empathy have inspired me to approach my own career with a similar mindset of selflessness and service. I strive to make a positive difference in the lives of those around me, just as she did. From a young age, I was captivated by her remarkable acts of compassion, such as fearlessly entering active battlefields to rescue the innocent and lead them to safety.  Likewise, her establishment of the ‘Home for the Dying’ in India, where she provided comfort and support to those in their final moments, resonated with me on a profound level. So much so, that I have always wanted to volunteer there- and still intend to do so

MVT CID: How do you think your industry could benefit from having more women in positions of leadership?

Dr. Angell: Increased female leadership in the homelessness and human trafficking industries can have several positive impacts:

  1. Empathy and Understanding: Women leaders bring a unique perspective and empathy, understanding the specific challenges faced by marginalized individuals. This can lead to more compassionate and effective solutions.
  2. Advocacy and Support: Women leaders can be powerful advocates for the rights and well-being of those affected by homelessness and human trafficking. They can drive policy changes and provide support services for survivors.
  3. Collaboration and Networking: Women leaders have the potential to foster collaboration among different organizations, enhancing coordination and cooperation in addressing these complex issues.
  4. Mentorship and Empowerment: Female leaders can serve as mentors and role models for women and girls who have experienced homelessness or trafficking, inspiring and empowering them to overcome adversity.
  5. Holistic Approach: Women leaders prioritize a holistic approach, addressing the interconnected social, economic, and systemic issues contributing to homelessness and human trafficking.

It’s important to note that while gender diversity in leadership positions is crucial, it is equally important to have diverse perspectives from individuals of different backgrounds, experiences, and identities. By fostering inclusive leadership, we can create more equitable and impactful solutions to address homelessness and combat human trafficking.

MVT CID: What is your favorite part about the Mount Vernon Triangle community?

Dr. Angell: I love the vibrant and diverse atmosphere that permeates through the streets of the Mount Vernon Triangle community. The lively local businesses and friendly residents create an energy and inclusivity that make this neighborhood truly special.

The strong sense of community in MVT CID is particularly appealing. Whether it’s through neighborhood events, community organizations, or simply running into familiar faces at the local coffee shop, there is a genuine connection and belonging here. It’s heartwarming to see neighbors support each other, celebrate successes, and rally around important causes.

I also appreciate the urban living with a touch of greenery. The well-maintained parks, tree-lined streets, and outdoor seating areas provide a welcoming and inviting environment. These green spaces offer opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and socializing amidst the city’s hustle and bustle.

Lastly, the dedication of community members and local businesses in making MVT CID a thriving and sustainable neighborhood is inspiring. The support for local establishments, promotion of local artists, and implementation of eco-friendly initiatives showcase a desire to create a vibrant and forward-thinking community.

Read More: