Stephanie Sena

Anti-Poverty Fellow


Stephanie Sena is the inaugural anti-poverty fellow and leads the Initiative to End Poverty and Inequality, an interdisciplinary enterprise housed in the Charles Widger School of Law. Sena started teaching at Villanova in 2003 after completing her first post-graduate degree in history at Villanova. Her area of expertise is the intersection of poverty, policy and sustainability. She serves on two sustainability committees at Villanova, working with other members of the community to accomplish the sustainability goals of living wage for all University employees and healthcare access for graduate students. 

Sena is the founder and executive director of the Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia (SREHUP), a non-profit community and rehousing center, operating since 2011. The center provides shelter, food, community, legal aid and medical care to individuals experiencing homelessness. SREHUP has a proven track record of success in helping shelter clients achieve housing. SREHUP links guests who stay at the shelter to social workers and services they need to sustain permanent housing. Sena is part of a working group of lawyers across the country who litigate to protect the unhoused and tent encampment occupants from homeless encampment evictions, also knows as “sweeps.” In protecting the civil rights of the unhoused, Sena calls attention to the need for suitable and accessible housing, social services and living wage policy. Sheadvocates for housing as a human right. 

Sena's awards include the Villanova University Pohlhaus-Stracciolini Award for Teaching Excellence, for “demonstrating a commitment to the life of the mind and to the well-being of students through teaching that is intellectually stimulating, challenging, and accessible, with efforts extending beyond the classroom,” and the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovators Award for Social Impact in the area of housing and homelessness. A sought-after speaker, she has given talks at universities, schools and religious institutions across the country as well as at the 3rd Annual Peaceable Kingdom Conference and TEDxPhiladelphia.


Office: Rm 241, John F. Scarpa Hall


  • Poverty and Policy


  • University of Delaware, MA (American History)
  • Villanova University, MA (World History and Islamic Civilization)
  • West Chester University,  BA (History)