Joining Forces Blog

  • Celebrating Cities Participating in the First Lady’s Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness

    The Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness has expanded nationwide over the past seven months. In fact, Portland, Oregon and Honolulu, Hawaii became the most recent cities to accept the challenge to end veteran homelessness issued by First Lady Michelle Obama in June of 2014. “Even one homeless veteran is a shame. The fact that we have 58,000 is a moral outrage,” said the First Lady while launching the Mayors Challenge. 

    Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), more than 440 mayors, governors, county executives, and other local officials are now committed to ending veteran homelessness in America by December 31, 2015. This includes each of the 25 cities with the highest densities of homeless veterans.

    Our message to cities that have not yet joined the challenge: It’s neither too late nor unachievable. To date, a number of cities have seen success in reducing veteran homelessness. In less than two years, New Orleans successfully housed more than 200 homeless veterans, becoming the first city to house all its veterans and reach the federal goal a year in advance. Since 2010, veteran homelessness has been reduced 33 percent, including a 43 percent reduction in unsheltered homeless veterans. It's clear that this is an achievable opportunity, and Joining Forces looks forward to working with any community that wants to give back to those who gave for their country. 

  • Changing the Conversation: The Power of Telling Veterans' Stories

    First Lady Michelle Obama Applauds at “6 Certified Campaign” Event

    First Lady Michelle Obama, as part of the Joining Forces initiative, delivers remarks at an event with Got Your 6 and industry leaders in film and television to launch a new effort to expand public understanding of veterans issues, at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. January 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    Hollywood came to Washington last week when Got Your 6 and The Company hosted the launch of the “6 Certified" campaign. During the event at National Geographic, the First Lady joined actor Bradley Cooper, producer Bruce Cohen, and others to offer remarks highlighting the role Hollywood that can play in expanding public understanding of veterans’ issues. 

  • Joining Forces and Transportation Sector Leaders Convene around Veteran Hiring

    Secretary Foxx with Marine Corps veteran Steven Speduto

    Secretary Foxx with Marine Corps veteran Steven Speduto at the Joining Forces event on Veteran Hiring in Transportation, where Steven introduced Secretary Foxx to a convening of transportation industry and labor leaders.

    In his 2015 State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama said, "If you want somebody who’s going to get the job done -- and done right -- hire a veteran."

    On Thursday, Joining Forces and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx carried that message forward by inviting leaders from across the transportation sector to the White House. They brought together representatives from the federal government, public transportation, labor unions, and private companies. During the event, these industry leaders shared stories about how veterans were successful additions to their workforce.

  • The Lincoln Awards: Stepping Up for Our Veterans & Military Families

    Nearly 150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address. He declared our nation’s pledge “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and for his orphan.”

    This week at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the first-ever Lincoln Awards recognized individuals and organizations for their impactful contributions to and continued support for our nation’s veterans and military families.

    The two-day celebration concluded with an all-star concert, kicked off by Dr. Jill Biden:

    As a military mom, there is nothing more special to see -- and to recognize -- than a community of people coming together for our nation’s veterans. And not just to support veterans, but to inspire others to go to their strengths, and find ways that they, too, can make a difference in the lives of these heroes.

    One thing we say in my family is that our country has one sacred obligation -- to equip those we send to war, and to care for them and their families when they return.

    First Lady Michelle Obama and I started the Joining Forces initiative to show our appreciation for those who serve -- because we want every veteran to get the care they have earned, the skills they need, and the employment opportunities they deserve.

    No, not every American wears the uniform, but every American can rally around those who have. That’s what the Lincoln Awards celebrate.

    God bless our troops. God bless those who care about them, and care for them.

  • Dr. Jill Biden and Master Sergeant Cedric King on the Meredith Vieira Show

    For the past six years, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden have invited wounded warriors and their families to dinner at the Vice President’s Residence. One of their guests this past year was Master Sergeant (MSG) Cedric King.

    In the summer of 2012, MSG King was on a mission with his platoon in Afghanistan when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that resulted in him losing two limbs and sustaining multiple other injuries. But, his story doesn’t end there. MSG King found the strength and motivation to not only recover, but to persevere after a tragic event. His resiliency is an inspiration.

    On Tuesday, Dr. Biden and MSG King appeared on the Meredith Vieira Show to discuss the efforts by Joining Forces to support those who have sacrificed so much for our country. The two also shared what MSG King’s road to recovery has been like not only for him, but for his family after he sustained life altering injuries.

    See the full video segment here

    "The thing that’s special about the military, I think, is that we’re all a family.” –Dr. Biden


  • Your Military Money Matters

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Defense's blog. See the original post here.

    Whether you’re a newbie recruit or an old salt, managing your money takes some time and attention. Despite the regular paycheck, it doesn’t happen on its own. Forgive the pun, but the effort will pay off.

    As a service member, there’s basic pay, travel pay, hazardous duty pay, cost-of-living allowances and much more. Then there are deductions, bills, rent or mortgage payments, and somehow making sure there’s money to set aside for holiday overspending, unexpected expenses, college and retirement. Life happens. It might seem overwhelming, but help is available, free, and easy to access, no matter what stage of your military career you are in.

    There are too many important reasons to list when it comes to taking charge of your finances. Your career is one reason. When your finances are in order, you’re able to focus on the mission.

    Let’s get started.