Aging, Disabled Troubled By Closing Of Tulsa Homeland Store

Tuesday, July 3rd 2012, 12:35 pm
By: Dee Duren

The last Homeland grocery store in Tulsa is closing its doors forever, and some are worried about how they will shop for food.

The group wants to help by holding a seminar in using public transportation.

The Homeland at 31st Street and Harvard Avenue is going out of business, and many in the nearby neighborhood rely heavily on this store.

The store is a crucial part of the nearby community.

The Tulsa Transportation Resource Center said many of the people who live in the area are elderly and struggle to get around.

For the last four decades, a grocery store has sat on that corner. A Homeland employee said Sunday will be the last day the store is open.

"Nobody saw it coming," Ivy Manor Apartment Property manager Brian Ohse said.

He says a lot of elderly people live in the complex and in the surrounding neighborhood.

Ohse believes once the store is closed, people in the area who don't have cars will not have anywhere to shop.

"Frustrated is an understatement," Ohse said. "It's so handy. If you're out of something, 2 minutes to run up and get it."

It's not clear why Homeland is going out of business, but some believe it may be because there are a number of other grocery stores near the area.

But those who live next to Homeland say the other stores are too far for people with no transportation.

"Those that don't drive, and not all my tenants drive, especially with the heat, it's going to make it a lot tougher for them," Ohse said.

"These closings often impact senior citizens the hardest," Indian Nations Council of Government's Clark Miller said. "If driving is not an option, they become reliant on family or friends in order to shop for the basic necessities."

To help battle this dilemma, INCOG is teaming up with Tulsa Transit to inform people of ways they can get to other local grocery stores.

On Friday, they will host a transit orientation seminar at Homeland.

"We realize that without training to use Tulsa Transit or other ways of transportation, they may not have access to fresh food," INCOG Transportation Public Outreach Planner Kasey St. John said.

Tulsa Transit says there are two bus stops in front of Homeland that will easily take riders to a nearby Reasor's or Food Pyramid.

We placed numerous calls into the Homeland headquarters in Oklahoma City.

None of those calls were returned.

Miller said his agency wants to help those shoppers learn to use the public transportation that is available in the area. Some may need assistance with learning how to read the bus schedule, board the bus and pay the fare.

The Transportation Resource Center is partnering with INCOG to provide a seminar to help current Homeland shoppers use bus routes to access other grocery stores.

The session will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, July 6 at the Homeland, 3139 S. Harvard Ave.