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​California officials seek help for threatened clifftop homes

PACIFICA, Calif. -- Officials are seeking assistance for a community near San Francisco where crashing waves and heavy rains have eaten away coastal cliffs, putting homes in danger.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier and local and federal officials on Wednesday visited the clifftop apartments in Pacifica and talked to residents who are being forced to move out.

Cliffhanger: El Nino storms leave Calif. homes on edge 02:09

Speier's district includes the small coastal city. She pledged to seek state and federal assistance to repair the crumbling cliffs.

Officials on Monday tagged an apartment complex of about 20 units as unsafe, ordering people to pack their things and be out by sunset. Residents scrambled to find someplace to go.

Despite the threat, some of the residents have refused to leave, CBS affiliate KPIX reported.

"Yes, I'm staying. I'm absolutely staying," Michelle Mackay told KPIX on Tuesday. "The buildings, like we've said before, next door have way more damage and they're still standing after five years. So to displace 20 families and all their animals is ridiculous."

Mackay insisted there hasn't been any further damage since New Year's Eve and that people in the neighborhood can't afford to move.

El Nino storms thrash California with more to come 02:25

"We're living paycheck to paycheck and month to month. We just don't have it and there's nowhere to go. There's nowhere to go," she said.

Pacifica officials last week declared a local state of emergency, prompted by storm damage to the community about 10 miles south of San Francisco.

The community has dealt with the problem before, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reported. In 1998, the last time major El Niño storms hit California, the bluffs eroded so quickly residents fled before one home tumbled into the ocean. Other houses were knocked down before they too fell off the cliff.

In 2010, two of the apartment buildings on the bluff were evacuated and condemned.

The wet winter storms that have hit California are predicted to continue into March. That's good news for easing the drought, but bad news for places like Pacifica, threatened by coastal erosion.

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