Joe’s House LLC. strives to provide safe and affordable reentry housing to assist men getting out of prison and will provide long-term housing for those who are working to rebuild their lives. Rebuilding a life after incarceration has many roadblocks and challenges, including the basics like finding work and a safe place to live. For people getting out of prison, finding a safe place to live is a huge challenge. These challenges range from cost of living to restrictions due to convictions. Joe’s House LLC. assists men leaving prison, treatment, or traditional transitional housing by providing safe, clean, and affordable housing. No one leaves the Idaho correctional system without someplace to live. Many formally incarcerated people need a short term place to begin the process of reentry. In many cases inmates and case managers struggle to find housing depending on the nature of a person’s crime. Joe’s House provides short term housing for people just getting out when no one else will provide space for them.This style of reentry housing is unique to Idaho and serves this population getting out of prison much better than a traditional half-way house. One of the goals of Joe’s House is that it will be clean, safe, and not overcrowded unlike most transitional housing around the state.
My name is Joe Howell, and I was born and raised in the Treasure Valley. Although I consider myself an entrepreneur, I started my career in sales when I was 14 years old while working for the Idaho Statesman, running a paper route. I would go door to door selling newspaper subscriptions. During the summers of my junior high school years, I worked at a local fruit stand always striving to upsell my customers. After high school I entered the world of phone sales, accepting a job telemarketing tools to contractors. I worked in this industry for over 20 years in many capacities including as sales representative, team leader, general manager, and owner-operator. I found myself in the transitional housing business in 2016. My model is different than my competitors, and through my methods and strategies, I believe it has proven more successful both for myself, but also for people transitioning from incarceration into our community. At one point in my life I started a string of bad choices which landed me in prison. I was released from the custody of the Idaho Department of Corrections in April of 2007. Being newly released from prison, I was on a mission to make a great living while giving back to my people, those who are incarcerated or newly released. I had extensive background and success in tool telemarketing, and in February of 2008, I opened the Boise office for Ace Industrial Supply. I hired my first 6 employees from the work release center and never once looked back. Over the years I taught many people with colorful backgrounds to make a good living through telemarketing. By 2015 I’d hired hundreds of people from probation, jails, and prisons at my telemarketing business. That year, I had 2 work release employees that expressed how bad their experiences in transitional housing in the Treasure Valley had been. They told me stories of run-down houses where 2, 3, and even 4 people were sharing a bedroom. Drug use was not only normal, but rampant at some of them. With what I was told, I found it hard to believe that anyone could be successful living in those conditions. After verifying what they were telling me was accurate, I began my search for an inexpensive property. I was determined to turn it into the best halfway house, as far as halfway houses are concerned. By the end of 2015 I had my first residential rental property under contract, and we went to work feverishly on the renovations. I resolved to make my house better than what all of the competition had, so that’s exactly what I did. In February of 2016, after months of renovations, my first halfway house was open for business. I made sure to only allow one person per room. I felt it was important for their success to have their own personal space. They were also allowed to have visitors in order to rebuild healthy relationships. Other transitional houses don’t allow visitors, but I feel that is counterproductive. At the end of the day we want them rebuilding families, so I feel it’s only appropriate that their family, spouses, and friends be allowed to visit. My house was different than what anyone else offered for transitional housing and for about the same price as the competition. Since my first house, I’ve purchased 6 more homes to keep up with the demand and it still never seems to be enough. I currently have 7 transitional homes with a total of 45 rooms. I still don’t have enough rooms to keep up with the demand, but I am grateful for those I am fortunate enough to help with housing and the difference it is making in their lives. Their success is what is rewarding for me. My personal philosophy is that probation and parole is hard enough without having someone else to be overly accountable to. I believe they need a place they can call home and to be able to be proud of where they live. This is why I ensure the houses are always taken care of from the outside, such as lawncare, regular pest control, and prompt maintenance and repair. In addition, I ensure that when I buy the homes that they are remodeled and in great condition for my tenants to move in. Finally, my approach is to treat them as adults. It not only helps my tenants feel more at home but also allows for them to make a few mistakes to learn from along the way. This gives them dignity. It is due to the quality of my homes and how I manage them, that my homes are constantly full. The fact that I have been incarcerated helps my tenants feel comfortable with me after they hear my story. They feel a connection with me because I was once in the same place they are in their lives, and they often come to me for advice. Many of them tell me, that because they see me coming from where they are now to being successful, that they believe that they too can achieve success. It is with this in mind that I would like to continue my efforts to help this community have a fair chance at starting over, as well as to continue to grow my ability to help in transitional housing. When I’m not working you can find me enjoying the beautiful Idaho great outdoors with my wife Aly, through boating at Lucky Peak, paddle boarding Idaho’s many bodies of water, hiking, mountain biking, or skiing.