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More than 100 Yale University workers and their families have taken advantage of the school's home-buying program, which encourages them to live in the city.

The year-old program offers $20,000 over a 10-year period to any employee who buys and lives in a home in New Haven by the end of 1995.

Yale committed some $2 million in the first year of the two-year program. The school reported Thursday that 119 employees participated, which included 35 faculty members, 32 members of the management and professional staff, 38 clerical and technical workers and 14 service and maintenance employees.

Twenty percent of them, or 31 employees, had not previously lived in New Haven. Two-thirds of all the participants were first-time home buyers, the college said.

"I applaud Yale for its belief in the viability of the city," New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said. "Yale's program fits in well with our own deep commitment to revitalizing our neighborhoods."

"These 125 employees represent 125 potential Little League coaches, 125 taxpayers--which is what I really like--and 125 families on city blocks," DeStefano told the New York Times.

DeStefano recently announced a residency incentive program for city employees. The Hospital of St. Raphael also announced a program similar to Yale's last May.

"Obviously, what we hope for is that they become active in their neighborhoods, on city boards and commissions, or in the P.T.A.," Susan Godshall, assistant secretary of the university, told the Times.

Since the installation of Richard Levin as president two years ago, Yale has taken several steps to increase its commitment to supporting the continued vitality of New Haven.

The university donated $12.5 million to a $108 million project to rebuild the downtown Ninth Square district. It has also spent millions in the last year refurbishing the Broadway area between Yale's Old Campus and the Payne-Whitney Gymnasium.

Ever since a Yale sophomore, Christian Prince, was killed on the edge of campus in 1991, the university has taken steps to rejuvenate the neighborhoods closest to its campus.

This story was compiled with Associated Press wire dispatches.

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