But the current strategy to achieve the vision isn't working.
A 2018 report from DePaul University's Institute for Housing Studies showed that in many parts of the city, rents keep rising while supply keeps dropping. The Affordable Requirements Ordinance, or ARO, meant to help solve the crisis, has failed to meet expectations. While projected to generate 1,200 units between 2015 and 2020, it had generated only 334 as of July 2018.
To understand the potential impact, consider that in 2018, at least 3,500 rental units were built in the downtown area. If developers had incentive to set aside 20 percent of those—or 700 units—as affordable, in just one year, Chicago would have produced more affordable units than ARO has produced in 10 years.
With an 80/20 approach, Related Cos. has built more than 30 rental developments across the country, providing thousands of quality, modern homes to low-income residents. Related is one of the largest owners of affordable homes in the region and has preserved more than 10,000 affordable units. The company has never converted a single one to market rate. This isn't just about economics; it's about responsibility.
We need more developers to get on board if we're to have any hope of keeping Chicago a city where people can achieve the American Dream.
The Illinois Legislature is considering a tax abatement measure that would encourage developers to adopt 80/20, and we urge our leaders to support it. This policy could forever change the lives of thousands of Chicagoans—and create a culture where socially responsible development is the norm, not the exception.