Sometimes it is. Sometimes they choose to be scary and annoying because it’s too much work to fit into society in a normal way.
In the particular case in the OP, I think GDOT was within their rights and responsibilities. They might have done it differently, but the results would have to have been pretty much the same - the homeless would have been forced to go somewhere else. It is outside GDOT’s responsibility to actually find them someplace else to be.
In San Francisco we have a large homeless population (and a large homeless problem) and we also have very vocal homeless advocates. None of the advocacy and none of the alternative hardline approaches from the city government seem to make any difference. We get tsk-ing letters to the editor from visitors who ask how we can let these people deface our beautiful city like that. As if we have any choice. i’m lucky that they don’t infest my neighborhood, because I live in an area with very little foot traffic (and therefore few prospects for panhandling).
I’m just going to stand up and say that there is no solution to the homeless problem. If there were a good way to find the 1/3 who could benefit from help, that would be great. I’m all for helping people who can and will benefit from it. But I’m sick of throwing money at people who’ll take it, laugh and then spit in your eye for your trouble. If they’re mentally ill, we can no longer force them to accept treatment. If they’re addicted, we can’t force them to stick to rehab disciplines. We can tolerate them being around or we can be angry at having them around, and that seems to be our only choice.