HOMELESS hostels in the North-East are still facing unprecedented demand, with rough sleepers being turned away in their droves.

Charity bosses were demanding more emergency shelters in the region earlier this year, following the tragic death of alcoholic Terry McGann.

His body was found in sub-zero temperatures behind the Wilkinson's supermarket, in Darlington town centre, in February.

An investigation by The Northern Echo later revealed the extent of the problem at the time and campaigners say it is getting no better.

The Salvation Army still has about ten people asking for every bed at each of its four centres in the North-East.

Spokesman Geoff Platt said yesterday that there was no sign of the crisis letting up.

"There has been nothing come my way to suggest that it has improved," he said.

The Government is taking action by implementing the Homelessness Act 2002, which ordered local authorities to draw up a five-year strategy to tackle the problem in their area.

It extended the groups considered to be priorities, including ex-prisoners, soldiers and youngsters leaving care homes.

The Government's Rough Sleepers' Unit has also targeted scrapping the use of bed and breakfast hotels as accommodation for the homeless by March next year.

But Mr Platt said: "In some areas of the country there has been some little improvement, but there hasn't been much here in the North-East."

Despite the slight improvement in weather conditions, the Salvation Army's centres in Darlington, Sunderland, Newcastle and the North Tyneside women's facility are still being forced to turn people away.