In a major speech to the National Housing Federation, Mr Clark said associations were a perfect example of the type of grass roots organisations who show that the principles of local control can take root in all communities.
The Localism Bill is all about putting power into the hands of local people, and housing associations will be well placed to use their expertise and relationships to encourage and enable people to act on new freedoms, Mr Clark said.
Mr Clark added that the new rights and opportunities in the Bill to exercise power should in no way be seen as confined to "well off communities", and it was patronising to suggest that some people, depending on their background or walk of life, were not capable of making good decisions for themselves and their neighbourhood.
Mr Clark said:
"The best housing associations have been embodiments of localism for many years. They engage with their tenants and their communities every day in hundreds of different ways beyond providing high quality accommodation, to being closely involved in the life of their communities.
"They are the perfect example of the kind of grass roots organisations who show that the principles of local control can take root in deprived areas as well as well-heeled ones.
"The Housing Association movement shows that with the right help, every community can be empowered to express itself and help shape their areas."
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