CALDERDALE Council is footing the bill to replace a retaining river wall which collapsed into Walsden Water last October.
Homes at Copperas House Terrace, Walsden, Todmorden, are within two metres of the collapsed wall.
The council does not own the land involved but investigations have failed to find the legal owners.
But Coun Barry Collins, cabinet member with responsibility for environment, said it was right the council picked up the bill.
“We can only begin to imagine how worried the residents in these houses have been following the collapse of the retaining wall,” he said.
“It’s highly likely that if we had done nothing the houses could have suffered long term to serious damage.
“While there is no responsibility on the council to do this work, we simply had to act to do the right thing.”
Work, programmed to take 18 weeks, is due to start on Monday covering an area 20 metres long and 4.7 metres high.
A contribution to the cost will come from the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, and further contributions are being sought from Yorkshire Water and the insurance companies of the adjacent houses.