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Non-profit homebuilder president trying to change attitudes against affordable housing

SALT LAKE CITY – As Utah homebuyers struggle with affordability, a non-profit group that builds affordable homes struggles with providing help in more communities.

First-time homebuyers work hard with the Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity, according to its president of the board of directors.

“They do 200 hours of sweat equity, they learn some financial wherewithal, and then they can buy a house for $150,000 with no mortgage,” said Peter Corroon.

He adds a home brings stability to families and their finances, and keeps people off the streets.

Even when he was Salt Lake County’s mayor from 2004-13, Corroon has struggled to change attitudes against smaller, affordable homes.

He recalled one contentious man in a public hearing for affordable housing near a river.

“We don’t want those people changing their oil in the parking lot. And we don’t want them going down and fishing in the stream for dinner every night,” Corroon recalled the man saying.

Corroon says homebuyers are firefighters, teachers and ordinary people who don’t usually have ties to poverty and crime.