It is a terrifying experience. I don’t know why they call it a welfare check, because that’s not even part of the process. The “welfare check” is honestly nothing more than an interrogation and a search for warrants. A while back, when my van broke down, I had it towed to a mechanic who has helped me greatly in the past. And a fellow veteran called the cops and requested they transport me to my property. The cops, however, came and did a “welfare check” which consisted of interrogating me about my circumstances and my identity, running me through their system to check for warrants. When they discovered that I am “clean”, they then ran the plates of every vehicle on the mechanics property. They were extremely frustrated, kind of pissed off that everything was “clean” and that there was no criminal activity occurring with this homeless person (me) or their associate (the mechanic). And they left, with no regard to or questions regarding welfare.
I have also experienced “welfare checks” that involved four officers screaming “where are the narcotics? Just tell us where the narcotics are!” Whilst shoving injured homeless people who had broken bones from a recent car accident. Shoving them from officer to officer, yanking on broken arms and grinding broken ribs, mocking them when they cried out in pain “Jesus what a fucking baby! Cry, baby, cry!” And all of us were thrown in jail and held for two days without being arrested before we were finally released. And the torment continued through that jailed period, officers behaving worse than 12 year old bullies on the playground, the way they treated us.
Please, never ask cops to do a “welfare check”. They will respond but they won’t be checking on welfare. Being homeless is bad enough. Please don’t go out of your way to make it worse for someone. That never benefits anyone. If you are concerned for someone’s welfare, you should be the one to check on it. And do so politely, without interrogation or violence or hatred.