In a move that’s both somewhat understandable and equally baffling, Sesame Street is introducing a new homeless character help small children understand "poverty" and "unaffordable housing."
The new storyline centers around a 7-year-old muppet named Lily, who first came onto the scene in 2011 as “experiencing food-insecurity due to her family lacking a consistent food supply,” according to the Hill.
In the years since her first foray onto the children’s show, Lily the muppet has apparently now found herself homeless and is now living temporarily with Sofia, an adult played by an actual person. In the online video, Lily tells Sofia she's sad that she doesn't have a room anymore and that she's afraid she and her family will never have a home again.
The show says her character will now make appearances in bilingual online videos and kid’s activities as part of their Sesame Workshop to teach kids about the problem of homelessness among many children in America. The show so far has made no plans to feature the character on their regular Sesame Street television program.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Sesame Street says there are 2.5 million children in the United States who are currently homeless.
While empathy for those who are struggling is certainly a good trait for parents to teach their kids, it seems somewhat worthy to note that the average age of a Sesame Street viewer is only 3 years old. And while homelessness is a tragedy that unfortunately does end up affecting many children, so are the issues of domestic abuse, sexual assault and drug addiction – but that doesn't make them appropriate issues for a show that spends the majority of its time teaching toddlers how to count.