‘Sesame Street’ Introduces Homeless Muppet

“Sesame Street” is using its “food insecure” Muppet Lily to illustrate homelessness among children.

Lily was introduced in 2011 as being a character who is “food insecure” because her family didn’t have consistent access to food.

Lily’s plight with homelessness won’t be included in televised episodes, but it will be featured in new online videos, among other things.

“Lily is featured in new videos, storybooks, and interactive activities for families with children ages 2 to 6, in addition to materials for the professionals who serve them, such as teachers, social workers, and healthcare providers. Sesame launched the initiative, part of its Sesame Street in Communities program, to help mitigate the impact of the trauma and stigma that result from homelessness,” Sesame Workshop, formerly Children’s Television Workshop, the nonprofit behind “Sesame Street,” said in a press release.

“We know children experiencing homelessness are often caught up in a devastating cycle of trauma—the lack of affordable housing, poverty, domestic violence, or other trauma that caused them to lose their home, the trauma of actually losing their home, and the daily trauma of the uncertainty and insecurity of being homeless,” Sherrie Westin, president of Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, said in a statement.

“We want to help disrupt that cycle by comforting children, empowering them, and giving them hope for the future. We want them to know that they are not alone and home is more than a house or an apartment—home is wherever the love lives,” Westin added.

Among the resources that the Lily character will be featured in is “Ribbons of Hope” and “Home Is…”

In “Ribbons of Hope,” Lily’s family finds permanent housing, and she “demonstrates ‘survivor’s pride’ and shares a coping strategy—and a special bracelet—with Elmo.”

“Home Is…” is described in the following way: “Elmo and Rosita meet some new friends who don’t have homes right now and learn about what the concept of ‘home’ means to them.”

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