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Sesame Street introduces new homeless Muppet Lily

Lily and her family are living with friends after losing their home.

For the first time, Sesame Street has introduced a character who is homeless.

Lily was first welcomed to Sesame Street in 2011 as a character whose family was struggling with hunger. Now, Lily, a 7-year-old Muppet, and her family are living with friends on Sesame Street after losing their home.

Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind the long-running children's series, launched this week a nationwide initiative to help address the impact of homelessness among young children in the U.S. It includes videos, storybooks and interactive activities for families with children ages 2-6 and materials for professionals who help them, like teachers, social workers and health care providers.

The initiative also includes free bilingual materials created to help children who are experiencing homelessness.

Sesame Workshop noted more than 2.5 million children are experiencing homelessness nationwide. Nearly half of those kids are under the age of 6, the organization said.

"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," Sherri Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, said.

Some of the new resources of the initiative include four new videos featuring Lily, Elmo, Sofia and others.

In one, Lily, Elmo and Sofia talk about the benefits of talking about big feelings and asking for help. In another, Lily demonstrates "survivor's pride" and shares a special bracelet with Elmo and some great news about her family's housing situation. In the video "Home Is..." Elmo and Rosita learn more about what "home" means to some new friends who don't have homes.

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