Culture

Sesame Street's Lily will be First Muppet to be Homeless

"Sesame Street" will introduce its first homeless character of its nearly 50-year existence.

Lily, a 7-year-old bright pink Muppet, will return to Sesame Street as the first character who is experiencing homelessness, according to Sherrie Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop.

Sesame Street also released an official statement on Twitter: "We are proud to announce new resources on @SesameCommunity around the topic of family homelessness. With activities, storybooks & more, our resources can offer help, healing & hope to families without a permanent place to stay."

The bright pink muppet was originally introduced in 2011 as a character who was food-insecure because her family lacked consistent access to food. But in new online videos, stories and resources, Sesame Workshop has added to Lily's storyline, which now includes her family having lost their home and needing to stay with friends on Sesame Street.

Sesame Workshop introduced the homelessness initiative on Wednesday as part of its Sesame Street in Communities program, according to Westin.

"When Lily was first launched, she came out as part of the food insecurity initiative. So she's not brand new, but this seemed like a really perfect extension of her story, so that we could use her to help children identify with," she said via CNN. "With any of our initiatives, our hope is that we're not only reaching the children who can identify with that Muppet but that we're also helping others to have greater empathy and understanding of the issue."

The show does not currently plan on televising Lily's journey with homelessness, however, it will be shown in separate videos and materials in the initiative. The segments featuring the character are both free and bilingual, according to ABC News.

"The goal is really to give service providers, parents, teachers tools in order to address homelessness with children, in order to talk about it and raise awareness of the issue from a child's perspective and also to help children experiencing homelessness feel less alone," Westin said.

"I think we tend to think of homelessness as an adult issue and don't always look at it through the lens of a child, and we realize that Sesame has a unique ability to do that, to look at tough issues with the lens of a child," she said.

Sesame Workshop's new homelessness initiative is designed primarily for families with children between the ages of 2 and 6.

More than 2.5 million children are affected by homelessness in the United Sttes and nearly half are under the age of 6, according to data shared by Sesame Workshop.

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