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Outside Of The City: Suburban Poor In Potomac, Md.

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The community of Tobytown contains 26 homes and this "all purpose" community center.
Elliott Francis
The community of Tobytown contains 26 homes and this "all purpose" community center.

A recent study reveals more poor residents now live in the Washington suburbs than in the District. One such community sits in the heart of Potomac, Md.

Established by former slaves in 1875, Tobytown is right off River Road, near Travilla Road. Years ago residents worked and prospered as laborers on surrounding farms, but as mansions replaced farms, work vanished.

Wesley Wilson grew up in Tobytown. He says, these days, outside jobs are hard to keep because the area has no public transportation.

"You got people that got jobs. It's not like they can't get jobs, it's transportation. All the rest of the public has transportation, give us transportation and they’ll be no more problem," Wilson says.

Andrew Oxendine is deputy director of housing management with the Housing Opportunities Commission. He says the agency tried to arrange a van for community transportation but residents didn't follow through.

"One of the obstacles has been the community's inability to come together and make the kind of decisions to make something like that operate," Oxendine says.

Approximately 60 residents live in Tobytown.


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