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Central Texas Housing Effort Improves Health and Lives

Amerigroup Texas is improving health and affordability in Central Texas — most recently through a transformative investment in Balcones Trails, a new health-focused apartment community in the fast-growing city of Kyle.

Amerigroup, development firm LDG Development, and a range of Central Texas leaders celebrated the project’s groundbreaking last month. When completed next year, Balcones Trails will offer 276 affordable units to Central Texas families.

Amerigroup provided key financing to make the construction possible. The company also is working with community groups to offer ongoing onsite services — potentially including daycare and exercise classes, a food pantry, financial counseling, job training, and mobile health and dental units — that are designed bolster residents’ health and quality of life.

“Having a safe, stable and affordable place to live is critical to achieving whole health, especially during these challenging times. Amerigroup is honored for the opportunity to step up and make a difference in the communities where we live and work,” said Greg Thompson, Amerigroup Texas president. “We look forward to watching the evolution of the Balcones Trails development — and to supporting the successes it will nurture.

Greg Thompson, President, Amerigroup Texas

The homes in Balcones Trails are reserved for families earning up to 60 percent of the area’s median family income – or $59,340 for a family of four. Its first move-ins are expected in spring 2023. The community features a mix of home sizes, with units ranging from one to four bedrooms.

Thompson stressed that the availability of stable, affordable housing will help people live healthier lives, prevent chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, and help residents remain in their jobs and improve their financial health.

“Housing is key to Amerigroup’s mission, because housing instability exacerbates a huge range of issues, from depression and drug use to emergency room use,” Thompson added. “The lack of affordable housing impacts the very nature and fiber of our society.”

Balcones Trails was funded with $55 million in financing secured by Anthem, Inc., Amerigroup’s parent company, through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. It’s part of Anthem’s $85 million investment in affordable housing in Texas and $410 million total nationwide investment since 2006.

Amerigroup also is working with developers in other parts of Texas to fund similar affordable housing developments. And the company will continue working with property managers to establish programs that help residents get healthy and stay healthy.

“Amerigroup has been committed to comprehensively improving health outcomes for Texans since we began serving the state in 1996. Increasing access to affordable, safe, supportive housing is another example of how we are making a positive impact in Texas,” said Dr. Cealee Thomas, Medical Director and leader of Amerigroup’s population health efforts in Texas. “Homelessness and housing insecurity have emerged as critical barriers to achieving whole health, so it is an honor for Amerigroup Texas to play such a key role in creating solutions that improve lives across our state.”

We’ve seen that affordable housing now incorporates a lot of different people that we need and are essential in our community. That includes police officers, firefighters, teachers, health care workers, and people who work at our retail stores. These are important people in our community that we should always embrace. We should always look for partnerships to help us build a community that brings everybody in.”

Dex Ellison , Member, Kyle City council

Kyle is in the region around Austin, which is one of the fastest-growing in the nation. Kyle itself has grown to more than 50,000 people — a 10-fold increase in 20 years. Such explosive growth is driving the need for affordable housing among a wide range of workers and families.