The communal orientation construct (Clark & Mills, 1979), may be useful in determining why people choose to help the homeless. Participants were presented with videotapes (Study 1) or transcripts (Study 2) of interviews with homeless people who were portrayed as having sad or neutral affect. Participants higher on communal orientation were more likely to display attitudes, empathy, and intentions supportive of helping the homeless. Portraying homeless people as being sad had a negative effect on attitudes and intentions to help them. In Study 2, communal orientation interacted with sadness such that for those high in communal orientation, sadness increased positive attitudes; while for those low in communal orientation, sadness decreased positive attitudes.