‘Sesame Street’ introduces homeless Muppet

‘Sesame Street’ introduces homeless Muppet
Meet Lily, a "Sesame Street" character without a home whose purpose is to raise awareness about childhood homelessness. Source: (YOUTUBE/SESAME STREET IN COMMUNITIES/CNN)

(RNN/CNN) - 'Sesame Street' is hoping to raise awareness about childhood homelessness by introducing a homeless Muppet for the first time.

Meet Lily, the 7-year-old character whose family is going through a “rough transition” and has lost their home.

The Muppet was given the name Lily because “lilies symbolize hope,” Sesame Street in Communities stated on its website.

Lily was originally described as being “food-insecure” because her family lacked consistent access to food.

Now, Sesame Workshop, the producers of Sesame Street, has expanded Lily’s storyline to include that her family stays with friends.

“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.

“When Lily was first launched, she came out as part of the food insecurity initiative. So, she’s not brand new, but this seemed like a really perfect extension of her story, so that we could use her to help children identify with,” said Westin. “With any of our initiatives, our hope is that we’re not only reaching the children who can identify with that Muppet but that we’re also helping others to have greater empathy and understanding of the issue.”

Last year the US Department of Housing and Urban Development released a report that revealed that nearly 1 in 20 children younger than 6 had experienced homelessness in 2014 to 2015.

However experts say the exact number of homeless youth in America remains a mystery.

Lily’s journey with homelessness will not appear in televised episodes, only in online resources.

The initiative launched Wednesday as a part of the ‘Sesame Street in Communities’ program.

“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,” said Westin.

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