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A Character On “Sesame Street” Is Becoming Homeless

“Home is where ever the love lives, and you can take that love and hope with you wherever you go.”

Posted on December 12, 2018, at 8:45 p.m. ET

Meet Lily, a 7-year-old pink muppet from Sesame Street who is experiencing homelessness.

Richard Termine

Lily is Sesame Street’s first homeless character.

Home is more than a house or an apartment. Home is wherever the love lives—the love within a family and community. Learn more about our new resources around homelessness: #SesameCommunity

Lily originally joined Sesame Street for a 2011 PBS special about hunger in the US. In the special, Lily’s family lacked consistent access to food.

Now, Lily’s family has lost their home and must stay with friends. The storyline was developed in an effort to address the growing number of young people experiencing homelessness.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2017 report on homelessness found one-fifth of people experiencing homelessness were children — that’s 114,829 kids under the age of 18 who are homeless. In 2017, the number of unaccompanied homeless youth in the US, which includes anyone under the age of 25, was estimated to be more than 40,000.

Lily is featured on Sesame Street in Communities — an online resource for young children. For now, the homelessness storyline will not appear on the television show.

Together, we got this. Lily and @Elmo share a special way they show each other support and kindness. For more resources for children and families experiencing homelessness:

Sesame Street in Communities includes content in English and Spanish, and features videos and activities that are meant as resources for educators and caregivers to use with young children.

The site covers a wide range of difficult-to-discuss topics, and includes Julia, an autistic character, who was introduced in 2015. These storylines run separately from the televised program, but sometimes become part of the main roster, like with Julia who joined the TV show last year.

In an introductory video for Lily, Sesame Street explains that grown-ups should help homeless kids share their feelings and should remind them that it’s not their fault.

View this video on YouTube

“Children should never know what it’s like to not have a permanent home, but sometimes that’s what happens,” a woman says in this video about Lily.

“That’s why it’s so important for grown-ups to encourage them to share their feelings and to remind them that it’s not their fault. We can let them know that they’re not alone, and that they will be taken care of. Home is wherever the love lives, and you can take that love and hope with you wherever you go.”

Some people were confused about Lily being the first homeless character on Sesame Street, since Oscar the Grouch has long lived in a trash can. The main difference here is that the trash can is a home for Oscar, because he is a Grouch — a species that lives in trash.

Oscar the Grouch been living in a trash can for 49 years

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.