Nearly five decades after its premiere, Sesame Street will confront the issue of homelessness with its first-ever homeless Muppet.
Sesame Workshop announced the addition Wednesday, confirming the storyline will revolve around the bright pink character of Lily. The Muppet was introduced in 2011, when she revealed her family's struggle with food-scarcity. We get a closer look at Lily's circumstances in a series of newly published YouTube videos, in which the character copes with being displaced.
"I miss our apartment and now we don't have our own place to live," she says in one video titled Connect the Dots. "And sometimes I wonder if we'll ever have our own home again."
The segments are part of the Sesame Street in Communities initiative, which provides various resources to support children's physical and emotional health. Sherrie Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, spoke about Lily's storyline and how it can help children who are in similar situations.
"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," Westin said in a press release. "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."
As part of the initiative, Sesame Street in Communities is offering storybooks and interactive activations, all of which are free and bilingual. This week, families can participate in an online conversation with a panel of experts who are committed to raising awareness about homelessness. The conversation will take place at 4 p.m. ET Thursday on YouTube and Facebook Live.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lily's story will not be featured on the televised version of Sesame Street, and will be told exclusively through online segments.