The City of Hercules declared a state of emergency Tuesday night over an unstable hillside that has forced residents to evacuate their homes.
, the 200-foot-tall hill, which has had for more than a decade, and threaten eight homes.
By proclaiming a local emergency at Tuesday's town hall meeting, the city becomes eligible for state and federal relief funds.
It is now up to the state to approve relief funds for the slide, but it is unknown how long the approval process will take.
Securing the hillside would cost millions of dollars, which neither the city nor the homeowners' association that owns the land can afford, said John McGuire, the city's chief building official. Proposed permanant solutions for the hillside include building a retaining wall and demolishing some of the damaged homes.
For the time being, city staff has placed concrete barricades along Carson Street to divert the slide if it continues to creep forward.
Four houses were long since evacuated when four more were yellow-tagged by the city Monday afternoon, indicating that it is unsafe for residents to stay overnight at the homes.
"My wife called me at work and she was scared and crying because our home was yellow-tagged. The tag said we could be buried alive," said Martin Gonzalez, who lives in one of the homes that was yellow-tagged.
Gonzalez, who said his house was recently appraised at $0, doesn't know if he should take a loss and abandon his property.