Our Story

Working in partnership with homeless mothers and their children, Hearts of Gold helps them create positive, sustainable change in their lives. Under four umbrella programs — Crisis Intervention, Getting It Right; a life skills program, Workforce Readiness and Next Gen; preparing our youth to excel- we engage with the moms and kids we serve to help them gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need as they transition out of the shelter system and become fully independent and productive members of society. A hallmark of Hearts of Gold—and the key to our success—is our hands-on, holistic approach to working with our mothers and their children. We call this approach our “Stand by Me” method. Our programs are designed to address broad issues common to a majority of our mothers and their children, and through our Stand by Me method we also work to meet their individual needs, as those needs arise. We also stay in their lives to provide ongoing support as needed and to celebrate their successes. When our moms and kids struggle with self-doubt and setbacks, we are there to advise, encourage, and exhort. We always keep an open heart, a ready ear, and an extended hand available to the mothers and children we serve.

Hearts of Gold accomplishes its mission in partnership with its three “adopted” shelters: Semiperm Housing, Nazareth Housing, and Freedom HouseWe have a close collaborative relationship with all three shelters and in particular with their respective directors, who identify the mothers and children most in need. Because the work we do is beyond the shelters’ operational scope, our work is of critical importance not only to the moms and kids we serve but also to the overburdened shelters themselves.

Together, with our adopted shelters, we are reimagining the future of the homeless moms and children we serve.


Deborah Koenigsberger

Deborah Koenigsberger
Founder and President


In the early 1990s, Deborah Koenigsberger—Founder and President of Hearts of Gold, fashion industry veteran, personal stylist, and owner of the Manhattan women’s boutique Noir et Blanc—was moved by the plight of the homeless people she began encountering in Madison Square Park, near her boutique. Deeply inspired by her idol Stevie Wonder—in particular, his lyrics about what “could and should be” from the song “Take the Time Out”—Deborah resolved to do something about the problem of homelessness in her beloved New York City. In 1994 she launched Hearts of Gold, resolving to do what she could to make “a small change” in the city’s homeless situation. It was a modest goal, but Deborah’s larger vision was anything but modest. What began as a one-woman operation aimed at making “a small change” is now a multifaceted organization that has so far helped over 20,000 homeless mothers and children transition from the city’s shelter system to self-sustaining lives and permanent homes. In 2014 Hearts of Gold’s charitable revenues exceeded $2,000,000.