'Sesame Street' Introduces First Homeless Character

For the first time in the show's history, "Sesame Street" is introducing a resident (character) who is experiencing homelessness.

Lily, the 7-year-old pink muppet was first introduced on the show in 2011 and was originally described as "food-insecure". "Sesame Street" chose that term to describe that Lily's family lacked consistent access to food.

"Lily is the first Muppet we've created whose storyline includes that she is experiencing homelessness," said Sherrie Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop, formerly Children's Television Workshop, which is the nonprofit behind "Sesame Street."

Lily's journey with homelessness will not appear in televised episodes of "Sesame Street". However, she will be in separate videos and materials in the initiative.

If you're wondering why "Sesame Street" chose to move forward with having Lily experience homelessness, here is what Westin had to say about it: 

"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."

Highlighting Lily's experiences with homelessness can positively impact the way children today think about homelessness and people in poverty, and ultimately 'humanize the experience of homelessness'.


This is major! A huge platform like "Sesame Street" is bringing light to a very serious issue in the United States.

According to a report released last year by the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, one in 20 children younger than 6 experienced homelessness in 2014 to 2015.

The U.S. Department of Education also revealed that during the 2013-14 school year, more than 1.3 million homeless children and youth were enrolled in public schools. 

What are you thoughts on "Sesame Street" bringing to the forefront of children's television programming? Leave your comments and let us know what you think. 

Image courtesy of Sesame Street / Video courtesy of USA TODAY

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