The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. will announce today that it plans to open 17 neighborhood home-buying centers this fall.

The centers will help consumers shop for, purchase, rehabilitate, insure, and maintain homes, according to Neighborhood Reinvestment, a congressionally chartered nonprofit corporation.

"This is full-cycle service," said Francine C. Justa, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of New York and co-chairwoman of the home- buying center project. "Even after you bought a house you may come back if there is a problem."

Ms. Justa's group opened a pilot center three years ago. It enrolled 200,000 people in education classes last year and arranged mortgages for 25,000 borrowers.

The program is aimed primarily at first-time buyers. At the pilot office, 60% of the users were minorities, 42% were female, and 65% earned less than $30,000.

Cities receiving home-buying centers this fall include Phoenix, Chicago, New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Richmond, Va. The group expects to have 50 centers running within a year. The announcement comes just a week after the government released data showing that the growth rate in lending to minorities and low-income borrowers has fallen sharply.

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