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Meet Lily, the First Sesame Street Muppet to Experience Homelessness


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Homelessness doesn’t only affect adults. Sesame Street announced it will address help parents and children talk about homeless in a series of new content. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Sesame Street is making it easier for children to understand homelessness.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the popular educational show, announced on Wednesday that new web videos, stories, and resources will tackle how Lily, a 7-year-old Muppet, handles living with friends after her family loses their home, CNN reports

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"We know children experiencing homelessness are often caught up in a devastating cycle of trauma," Sherrie Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, said in a statement. 

The majority of people experiencing homelessness in the US are homeless because of poverty, a lack of affordable housing, job shortages, and declining public assistance. Between 500,000 and 2.8 million youth are thought to be homeless within the United States each year, according to the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs. During the 2013-2014 school year, more than 1.3 million homeless children and youth were enrolled in public schools, according to the US Department of Education.

Lily was first introduced in 2011 to address another American crisis linked to poverty — food insecurity, which affects 18% of children in the US. 

She is just one of Sesame Street’s many dynamic characters. 

Read More: Lego Is Giving Sesame Workshop $100 Million to Help Educate Refugee Children

In 2017, the show expanded its cast to include Julia, its first autistic muppet, and committed to reaching the refugee community with Arabic programming that same year. Back in 2002, Kami became the first muppet on screen with HIV on Sesame Street South Africa, according to CNN.

Sesame Workshop said it not only hopes to educate children with these kinds of initiatives but also aims to help parents discuss hard topics and spread empathy around a range of important issues.

"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," Westin told CNN.