LONDON, ONT. -- It’s been a trying 14 months for everyone, but for those struggling with homelessness the pressure has been far more challenging to deal with.

“The last year has probably been the most difficult time,” says Chuck Lazenby, with Unity Project on Dundas Street.

Because of the tight quarters at the shelter, it was shut down during the pandemic and they were forced to secure other accommodations.

“Our building just wouldn't work for us anymore so we took over 50 rooms of a hotel where we could accommodate people with pre-existing health conditions and seniors who are experiencing homelessness to help keep them protected from the most extreme effects of COVID,” explains Lazenby.

However that federal and provincial funding may soon dry up.

Lazenby adds, “We know we have until the end of June, but that's it so far and we're really hopeful that it continues while the pandemic is still a threat.”

With that uncertainty, funding is a major concern and that’s why the annual Up with Art event, which helps Unity Project and Museum London, is so important.

“There are 65 works of incredible art that are donated by local renowned, emerging and Unity Project participant artists,” says Silvia Langer, also with Unity Project. “There are also works that are donated by notable collectors from London and area.”

Every year Up with Art has a special guest artist and this time around is no different with this piece from Shelley Niro.

“Shelley Niro is a Governor General Award-winning artist she has made this incredible photograph entitled, 'The Wild Ones and the Colonized' and it's on T-shirts as well with funds going to support Unity Project."

Last year the online event raised more than $147,000.

“We really very much depend on this fundraiser and the kind of community it generates, the way that it intersects art and social justice to make London a vibrant and health community,” says Langer.

Up with Art is online until Saturday night.