For the first time, Sesame Street will have a homeless character.
Lily, a 7-year-old muppet, was originally introduced to Sesame Street audiences in a 2011 episode tackling hunger. Now, the longtime children’s program we all grew up with is taking things a step further by including homelessness in her storyline, CNN reports.
On Sesame Street, Lily confides to Elmo that her family has lost its home and now must stay with friends. Elmo assures her that things will be OK by saying, “We got this.”
The hope is that Lily’s character will not only give homeless children someone to identify with on the show but also help their peers with homes better understand homelessness and be more empathetic.
The homeless storyline won’t appear on Sesame Street’s televised episodes for the time being but will be part of separate online videos and materials accessible to teachers and parents online.
Sesame Street, the home of beloved characters Big Bird and Bert and Ernie, has a long history of including characters with different backgrounds, struggles, and socio-economic status. Last year, the show introduced an autistic character, Julia, to the show, and in 2002 the show’s African counterpart introduced Kami, the first Muppet to have HIV.