Congresswoman Jackie Speier tours eroding Pacifica cliffs

Byby Melanie Woodrow KGO logo
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Congresswoman Jackie Speier tours eroding Pacifica cliffs
Pacifica residents who have been forced out of their homes due to a crumbling hillside got support from Congresswoman Jackie Speier on Wednesday.

PACIFICA, Calif. (KGO) -- Pacifica residents who have been forced out of their homes due to a crumbling hillside got some high powered support.

For the first time Wednesday, Congresswoman Jackie Speier toured the damage in Pacifica along with local leaders. Efforts are underway to potentially secure federal dollars, though it may be difficult to get that money to individuals.

Despite yellow tags, people who live in the area have been reluctant to leave. And part of that reluctance for several people had to do with the financial burden of suddenly having to pick up and move.

Financial help may be on the way, but it's going to take creativity to get it to the people who live in the area.

Speier surveyed the crumbling cliff in person. "The devastation is dramatic," she said.

Earlier California's Office of Emergency Services and FEMA also checking out the destruction. "It underscores that we've got to get a serious fix," Speier said.

Whereas federal dollars are available right now to California, getting similar assistance to the people that live here is more difficult.

"The people that need to come first are the people that are literally being thrown out on the street," Pacifica resident Michael McHenry said.

Pacifica can compete for $30 million Caifornia has set aside for disaster mitigation. However, that money has to be used for public facilities

like the seawall and pier.

"So unless we can make the case that El Nino is a ongoing Super Storm Sandy event providing that rental assistance may be difficult," Speier said.

Inside Michael McHenry's apartment, Speier and Pacifica's Mayor vowed to help 310 Esplenade residents. "I don't want these tenants to pay another dime to this landlord," Speier said.

Some are staying in a shelter. "People are shaky, they can't sleep and they're on cots," Pacifica Mayor Sue Digre said.

The County Supervisor said when they find a new home, there will be county assistance. "We're going to offer things like first and last month's rent," County Supervisor Don Horsley said.

That may be a solution that for some can't come soon enough. "There is no way to not back up your promises now," McHenry said.