The $HOME/houdini15.5 folder is the main Houdini config folder. Usually it is located in your user "Documents" folder, for example: "C:\Users\Juanjo\Documents\houdini15.5"
It is created by Houdini the first time you launch it, and inside you can find the houdini.env file, that is the place to configure the Houdini plugins paths.
You must edit the houdini.env file and set the two variables to define the plugin paths, in your case for example:
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HOUDINI_DSO_ERROR = 2
PATH = "C:/Users/xxxxxx/Downloads/Octane_3.05.3.0_Houdini_15.5.673_demo_Win64/bin;$PATH"
HOUDINI_PATH = "C:/Users/xxxxxx/Downloads/Octane_3.05.3.0_Houdini_15.5.673_demo_Win64;&"
Of course, you must replace the "xxxxxxx" with your user name ... But anyway you should be sure that you don't have an older plugin version inside this folder, so it is better delete it, start Houdini to let it create a new clean one, and later edit the houdini.env file.