Rozlyn Muñoz lives in Redding, California, on Hope Lane — a fitting address for a woman who has overcome some extremely tough challenges.
In October of 2010, Rozlyn missed the bottom step while walking down a staircase. She landed on her head and couldn’t move.
“By the time I was seen in the emergency room, I had movement in all my extremities, but I could not walk,” Rozlyn said. “My spinal cord was completely squashed. I had a
50-50 chance of coming out of surgery a quadriplegic.”
Luckily, the odds were in her favor.
“I’d say God smiles on me,” Rozlyn said. “I had an amazing surgeon that put me back together with lots of prayer.”
She wore a neck brace for three months and a walker for two weeks, and then Rozlyn walked again on her own.
Her autistic daughter Elayna, who was six at the time, also played a vital role in her recovery.
“She was my therapy — I needed to get better for her,” Rozlyn said.
The recovery went slowly. Rozlyn says at first it would take her 10 minutes to put a sock on her daughter. Opening a yogurt container would also take Rozlyn 10 minutes. She had to relearn how to control her swallowing, something Rozlyn still struggles with today.
Unfortunately, while she regained her health and mobility, her finances worsened.
In 2012, Rozlyn and Frank lost their home to foreclosure. Frank couldn’t find work during the housing crisis, so they also struggled to pay for their boat and trucks.
“We were barely able to keep up with the expenses required to keep his contractor’s license valid, but we did,” she added.
She and Frank managed to find a small rental home in Anderson, about ten miles south of Redding. Rozlyn didn’t want to stay there because of the crime rate. Rozlyn kept her daughter from going outside alone. She also commuted 30 miles each way to Elayna’s school — worth the effort because teachers have been giving Elayna the one-on-one attention she needs since kindergarten.
“My prayer was that we would be able to find a home in a good neighborhood, close to her school and reasonable payments with a lease option to buy,” she said. “And that it fall into my lap — which it did.”
The three of them moved into their current house in 2015, which they share with two big Husky dogs, Peppa and Sasha. They have a lot of green around them — the home is near a golf course and in a region surrounded by national forests.
Their single-story fixer upper home, built in 1990, is about 2,200 square feet. She says Elayna is happy living here and loves their home, and Rozlyn and Frank have plans to make it even better. They managed to replace the roof, but needed help with the rest — replacing the flooring, the master bathroom, guest bathroom and kitchen counters.
They also want to redo the lawns and the pool.
To get the money, they first turned to a local bank for a HELOC, but the bank turned them down because Rozlyn had a collection on her credit report due to unpaid surgery bills.
Rozlyn started working again in 2013, first as a part-time bookkeeper for the Shasta Athletic Club and then as a bookkeeper for Frank’s business starting in 2015. She’s also Elayna’s caregiver. Despite her ability to work again, they needed a loan for all of their expenses.
One day earlier this year she received a flyer in the mail from Figure. It encouraged her to apply online for a loan.
“I was like, ‘This is too good to be true,’” Rozlyn said. “I didn’t have to wait for three days for the processing.”
Figure loaned them $50,000 — $20,000 to pay off the personal debt and they’ll use $30,000 for her home’s upgrades.
Ironically, though, now that they have the money to work on their house, Frank doesn’t have the time because he’s prioritizing neighboring homes damaged in a disaster.
“We live in an area that had two major fires and so we’ve lost thousands of homes,” Rozlyn said. “All of our contractors are so busy rebuilding brand new homes for all the people who lost their homes.”
Some of the HELOC money is also going towards protecting their own house from any future fires, like placing river rock against their back fence.
Inside the house, Frank will redesign the tiling in the master bathroom and the splash behind the kitchen counters.
“I defer all of the decorating to him, because he’s done some incredible things,” Rozlyn said. “I told him — ‘If we were to ever sell this house or if someone walks into this house, they need to know that the tile guy lives in that house.’ We’re not going to do standard stuff.”
Rozlyn has a son who works at a tile company in Sacramento, so they won’t have to turn to a big retailer for materials. Still, the upgrades are expensive. She describes getting the loan from Figure as “God’s grace.”
“The thing about Figure was the ease, not jumping through hoops at my bank,” Rozlyn said — adding she didn’t have to answer a million questions. “‘Can you get this? Can you verify this? What’s this? What’s your son’s DNA?’ It was so simple.”
Now she’s telling everybody about Figure. “One person says HELOC — I’ll tell you where to go,” she said.
Someday, Rozlyn hopes to build another house not far away on ten acres of land.
“If I sold this home, I would be able to buy my land and build my dream home with the proceeds from the home for sure,” she said.
“I’m very lucky to be as mobile as I am,” she added. “Very, very blessed.”
What’s more, debt no longer weighs her down from pursuing these future plans.
“Actually I just paid my last bill,” she said with pride about her payments to the hospital. “Because guess what? I had the money in the bank. They called me and I said, ‘Oh here you go — sure!’”