‘Sesame Street’ introduces new homeless character

Meet Lily, the newest muppet on “Sesame Street.” Lily is being introduced as the first homeless muppet and in her introductory episode, tells Elmo that “We don’t have our own apartment anymore. “And we’ve been staying in all different kinds of places.”

According to the Washington Post, Lily’s story is part of a new initiative to address homelessness among children in the Head Start program.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational group behind the show, cited statistics from the Office of Head Start indicating a 100 percent increase in children experiencing homelessness in Head Start and Early Head Start over the past decade. Of the more than 2.5 million homeless children across the United States, nearly half are under 6, according to the group.

Those children must deal with unique “physical, emotional and psychological distress” related to their families’ housing situations.

Sherrie Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop told the Washington Post, “We want [homeless children] to know that they are not alone and home is more than a house or an apartment,” Westin said. “Home is wherever the love lives.”

Just one question though: didn’t “Sesame Street” already have a homeless character with Oscar the Grouch? He lives in a trash can! If that’s not homeless, I don’t know what is.

Kudos to the show for addressing real life problems that children face – they should know they are not alone and the character will help other children understand what their peers are facing.

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