NEW YORK  - Goldman Sachs Group Inc, facing criticism over its outsized profits and bonuses, will invest $61 million in the preservation of rental homes for low-income New Yorkers, the bank said on Wednesday.

The investment will go to the New York Equity Fund, a joint venture of government and private interests that builds and preserves affordable rental housing.

Goldman Sachs' investment will go to 568 projects in Harlem, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Last month, the bank said it would contribute $300 million to help small businesses get capital and would commit $200 million for business and management education programs.

Repairing Goldman's image has been a central topic for the investment bank as it confronts political pressures and popular anger over its financial success amid the economic downturn. Goldman set aside nearly $17 billion in the first three quarters of 2009 for employee bonuses, just months after repaying $10 billion borrowed from taxpayers.

(Reporting by Juan Lagorio; editing by John Wallace)