HHI members at Sesame Street Sesame Street, the television show and its related educational entities, is raising awareness of the increased number of families with children that are experiencing homelessness — with an assist from the Homeless Health Initiative (HHI).

The lauded children’s TV show reintroduced a muppet named Lily — who debuted on Sesame Street in 2011 when her family was struggling with hunger — as part of a wider effort to shine a spotlight on homelessness. Philadelphia and HHI’s leaders Karen Hudson and Melissa Johnson were sources of information for the educational elements.

Sesame Street in Communities offers professional development videos; those on this topic were created and launched in December. HHI was invited to offer expertise around our work with families and young children experiencing homelessness in the area of health.

This time around, Lily explains that her family is doubled-up (sharing someone else’s home) and experiencing homelessness. It’s a story all too common for 2.5 million children across America.

Sesame Street in Communities came to Philadelphia to complete a video segment of a CHOP HHI Women’s Wellness Session shot on location at People’s Emergency Center (PEC), a HHI shelter partner. A second video offers strategies and information for healthcare providers about successful ways of interacting and caring for children and families experiencing homelessness.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization of Sesame Street, invited Hudson to participate as a panelist in an online, live-streamed forum for the second phase of its social impact work in helping children and families experiencing homelessness. The panel discussion featured experts, who gave their perspectives on children’s experiences in homelessness situations.

This was an exciting follow-up to the Sesame Street in Communities video shoot at CHOP and PEC and a way to give a more in-depth portrait of HHI’s history and programming.

Photo: Karen Hudson ( far right, back row) participated on a forum panel of homeless experts that included Kate Barrand, President and CEO, Horizons for Homeless Children; Barbara Duffield, Executive Director, School House Connection; La Shawn Hye, Housing and Community Outreach Liaison, Project Hope Alliance; and Jasmine Hayes, Deputy Director, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. Also in the photo are Beth Botshon and Maria Galarza from Sesame Street.